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13 posts from May 2007

May 31, 2007

Name Donovan's successor

With Donovan likely gone at Florida, the question is simple: Who will replace the coach that vaulted Florida atop the men's college basketball landscape?

I say look no further than Anthony Grant, a former Donovan assistant who turned around VCU's program in one season. Grant helped recruit all of Florida's incoming freshmen and is the best fit for the job.

An offer Donovan can't refuse?

Florida men's basketball coach Billy Donovan was offered a sizable contract by the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night, according to several reports. The deal is reportedly worth close to $6 million per year.

Donovan has much to ponder. With a hefty contract extension with Florida awaiting his signature, Donovan can either become one of college basketball's highest paid coaches or take a shot at the NBA. Florida is reportedly ready to offer Donovan more than $3.5 million per year.

Efforts to reach Donovan and Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley were unsuccessful Thursday afternoon. Donovan, winner of consecutive national championships, was in Destin earlier this week for the Southeastern Conference spring meetings. He deflected questions about a possible jump to the NBA. Foley told reporters on Tuesday that a deal between Donovan and Florida was near.

May 22, 2007

What to buy with all that Gator cash? A moat around The Swamp, duh.

The University of Florida earned over $2 million in merchandise royalties from January to March. That ranks third nationally behind Texas and Notre Dame, according to a list compiled by the Collegiate Licensing Company. Don't be surprised if the next quarterly report pushes the Gators even higher. It will include sales made after the basketball team's national championship. Royalty checks are split between the university's general fund and the athletic department. All this money got us thinking. What are the Top 10 best ways for the Gators to spend their loot?

10. New fields of study: I've always wanted to major in rock & roll. Can we make this happen?

9. Bribes: The color purple should be banned from collegiate athletics. Let's start with the Southeastern Conference. How much cash would it take to get Louisiana State to alter its color scheme? Not much, probably. Heck, they'd probably do it for a couple recruits and a pint of potato salad.

8. Dance lessons: For Joakim Noah.

7. Free beer on game days

6. New uniforms: Alligator skin. Don't laugh. This would be the coolest thing since Jams.

5. Payoffs: Can you buy bravery? Schedule a home-and-home against Miami. Make this happen no matter the cost.


4. Free beer and ribs on game days!

3. Smarter cops. This has nothing to do with the University of Florida. Just a personal wish.

2. Undercards: Can we get boxing matches or cage fighting before each football game this fall? How about man vs. beast fights to the death?

1. A moat around The Swamp, duh: This is a no brainer. Naturally, alligators would live in the moat. Georgia's got the hedges. That's lame. A moat, now that's cool. Here's a blueprint.

Didn't make the list: Intramural stock car racing.

May 21, 2007

Emails I get: Donovan stalling for the NBA

This email comes to us from Jim P. in Tampa. To get your emails published on Gator Clause just send your thoughts or questions to jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com. Make sure to tell us who you are (an Internet handle is fine) and where you're from.

Mr. Goodman,

I wrote to [another writer] of [another paper] and asked him if he thought that Billy Donovan not having yet signed a contract was the reason -- or part of the reason -- that [Patrick] Patterson didn't sign with the Gators. He said emphatically, "No." And that it all had to do with Florida being too far away from his home. In my humble opinion, I disagree. (But all I know is what I read in the papers.) What are your thoughts?

-Jim P. in Tampa


May 20, 2007

Weekly: Former Gators doing things in the pros

David_ecksteinLast week...St. Louis Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein turned in his best week of the season. The former Gator went 11-for-22 to raise his batting average to .262. Prior to last week, Eckstein was batting .256. He broke out his slump with a three-hit performance last Monday in an 8-4 win against the Dodgers and had another three-hit game on Saturday in an 8-7 win against the Detriot Tigers.


LastMark_ellis week...Oakland Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis hit his second-career grand slam on Saturday in a 15-3 win against the San Francisco Giants. Ellis had five RBI in the game and went 7-for-27 during the week. On Saturday, Ellis had a his seven-game hit streak end when he went 0-for-3 in a 4-2 loss to the Giants.


LJosh_foggast week...Colorado Rookies pitcher Josh Fogg picked up his fifth loss of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fogg (1-5) pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and seven hits. He struck out three and walked two. Fogg's current ERA standings at 4.91. His next scheduled start is Tuesday at Arizona.


Last Brad_wilkersonweek...Texas Rangers outfielder Brad Wilkerson was placed on the 15-day disabled list after pulling his hamstring on Tuesday during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays while legging out a double. The injury reportedly appears serious. Wilkerson was batting .250 with six home runs and 20 RBI.


Matt_bonnerLast week...San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner played in three games during his team's second-round Western Conference series against the Phoenix Suns. Bonner played 25 seconds during Game Four, 2:55 during Game Five and 1:19 during Game Six. He didn't score any points but did attempt one three-pointer during the Spurs' Game Five win. Bonner did not play in the Spurs' win on Sunday against the Utah Jazz in the first game of the Western Conference Finals.


Camilo_villegasLast week...Camilo Villegas finished third in the AT&T Classic in Duluth, Ga. Villegas birdied four holes on the last day, finishing with a 71 and three shots off the lead. He shot 12-under par for the weekend but bogeyed hole 18 on Sunday one day after shooting eagle on the hole.

May 19, 2007

Georgia coach accused of pushing Gators

This from a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: A Georgia high school football coach was recently accused by the school's former coach for urging a star running back, who had already committed to Georgia, to consider other options other than the Bulldogs.

First-year Jonesboro Mt. Zion football coach Jarrett Laws denied swaying his player. Laws is from Florida. The player, Martin Ward, is a 5-10, 196-pound running back. He looks pretty good on paper and has indeed balked on his early commitment to Georgia. As a junior, Ward averaged 9.2 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns. Georgia has lost two early commitments in recent weeks.

And in related news...I think I'll eat a ham sandwich. On second thought, better make it turkey. No, now I want bologna.

May 17, 2007

Donovan close to payday?

Billy Donovan is close to signing his long-awaited contract extension, according to a report by ESPN.com. Citing unnamed sources (a practice forbidden by The Miami Herald) the Internet website wrote on Thursday night that Donovan and Florida are nearing terms of a seven-year contract extension worth about $3.5 million per season.

I spoke with University of Florida sports information director Steve McClain on Thursday night after the story broke and McClain told me that Foley indicated during the Gators' Thursday night baseball game against Tennessee (a 6-5 Florida loss) that Donovan's deal is still in the works and may take more time to finalize.

For more than a year, Donovan (Is it possible this guy is a savvier businessman than he is a basketball coach?) has positioned himself to become the wealthiest college basketball in the country. It seems his payday is finally nearing. Is he worth it? Will Florida football coach Urban Meyer's upcoming contract extension trump Donovan's deal? Will Billy the Kid bolt for the NBA, a possibility I still believe to be very possible?   

Gator ate my terrier

And in related news...an alligator ate a dog. CLICK THIS LINK.

Florida AD wins award

The National Football Foundation recently honored Jeremey Foley, Florida's athletic director since 1992, with an award for excellence in administration. Foley has overseen the Gators' athletic program during its most successful years in school history. Let's all sing a song to honor Mr. Foley. CLICK THIS LINK.

May 16, 2007

Patterson chooses Kentucky

Jai Lucas didn't get his wish. The latest Florida basketball commitment remained just that on Wednesday when his friend, 6-8 1/2 forward Patrick Patterson, chose Kentucky over Florida and Duke. Gator fans should have saw this coming. New Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie was the keynote speaker at Patterson's high school basketball banquet. With the class of 2007 set, what do you think the Gators' starting five will be next season? Add your opinion with a comment ... I did.

May 15, 2007

Holliday recruiting Broward County today; Meyer visits Dillard

Florida assistant football coach Doc Holliday is in Broward County today recruiting talent for the Gators' next signing class. Holliday visited Deerfield Beach High around noon, according to Bucks' head football coach Art Taylor. Holliday inquired about the Bucks' backfield tandem of Rodney Harrell (5-9, 195 pounds) and Matt Whitfield (5-9, 185 pounds). Both players have been key contributors for the Bucks since their sophomore years.

Last week, Holliday and Florida head coach Urban Meyer visited another Broward County school, Fort Lauderdale Dillard High, according to Dillard assistant coach Ken Scott. Meyer spoke with Dillard wide receiver Harry Adams, one of the fastest high school football players in the country, and defensive back Lorenzo White.

As a sophomore, Adams (5-11, 175 pounds) won three state track titles. He nearly broke the 100-meter dash state record with a time of 10.3 seconds. He also won an individual state title in the 200-meter dash and anchored Dillard's state champion 4x100 relay team. White (5-11, 170 pounds) had four interceptions as a junior, returning two for touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a touchdown.

Florida's coaching staff has also visited Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, according to St. Thomas head coach George Smith. Florida has signed a player from St. Thomas in each of the past two years: offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert and defensive back Major Wright. Expect Florida to focus its recruiting attention on St. Thomas defensive back/return specialist Philip Pierre-Louis, who recently ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds during a combine at North Broward Prep.


Blanche Ely defensive back Patrick Johnson is another Broward County speedster Florida would love to sign. Johnson will be one of the most sought-after cornerbacks in the country next season and will likely by the state of Florida's overall top recruit. Johnson has already orally committed to the University of Miami but that won't stop Florida from recruiting the player.

I recently spoke with Holliday, the Gators' defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator for South Florida, and, though he could not comment on any players the Gators are currently recruiting, he did say, "A lot can happen between now and signing day."

Is Lucas good enough to be next Green?

    Jai Lucas, the Gators’ latest men’s basketball commitment, is the next Taurean Green. I ask you: True, no way or too early to tell?

    Lucas signed with Florida on Monday. The similarities between the Houston-area prep star and Florida’s point guard of consecutive national championships are obvious.

-Both players are the sons of NBA fathers. (Lucas’ father, John, coached the San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers. While at San Antonio, John Lucas actually coached Sidney Green, father of Taurean Green.)

-Both players can create their own shots. (So says Lucas’ high school coach.)

-Both players can run an offense. (Lucas says one of the main reasons why he chose Florida over Kentucky, Oklahoma State and Duke was because of Donovan’s NBA-style offense.)

    I don’t know much about Jai Lucas other than he’s sounds like a nice kid over the phone. I do know a few things about Green, however, and if Lucas' game is anything like Green then the Gators’ offense will be in good hands for the next few years. As good as Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Al Horford performed for the Gators, Florida coach Billy Donovan knew that his championship offense started and stopped at the point guard position. There's a reason Green never played defense. Donovan didn't let him. Green's skills as an offensive player were too valuable to sit on the bench because of foul trouble.

    Green averaged 37 minutes per game last season or more than any other Gator. He might not translate into the best talent of the bunch in the NBA, but for Donovan’s Gators, Green was the most valuable player. If Lucas is half as good as Green, then Florida should be in good shape.

    Lucas has a chance of starting as a freshman, and that would be another similarity between himself and two-ring Green. And if Lucas doesn’t work out, then Nick Calathes (another incoming freshman) could be an option. Of course, you probably don’t gain or lose much when you exchange one frosh for another.

May 07, 2007

Donovan talks with Griz

Florida head coach Billy Donovan recently spoke with the Memphis Grizzlies about the team's head-coaching position, according to Yahoo!Sports. Nothing came of the conversation--Donovan reportedly wanted more control of the team than Memphis was willing to give. Nevertheless, it would appear that Florida's two-time defending national championship coach is curious about coaching in the NBA. 



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