SEC Hoops Preview

SEC Hoops Preview

It will be a night of SEC hoops as eight teams meet on the court in just a few hours.

Florida at LSU 7 p.m.

SEC Network

The Florida Gators are coming off an upset win against SEC opponent Auburn. At the time, Auburn was ranked No. 4 in the country. Florida knocked off the Tigers 69-47 in Gainesville Saturday.

The Gators will face the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge tonight. LSU currently leads the SEC hoops world. They are undefeated in conference play and are led by senior guard Skylar Mays. He’s averaging 15.9 points a game.

Georgia at Kentucky 7 p.m.

ESPN

No. 15 ranked Kentucky is seeking its fifth SEC win of the season as they host Georgia tonight. Calipari’s Wildcats are back at home after a road win against the Arkansas Razorbacks Saturday. Kentucky survived the Razorback’s efforts at a second-half comeback.
Georgia is 1-3 in the SEC. They fell to Mississippi State 59-91 Saturday. Anthony Edwards leads the Dawgs averaging 23 points per game.
The Wildcats are an 11.5 point favorite over Georgia.

Texas A&M at Missouri 9 p.m.

ESPNU

Missouri is coming off a close loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide. They fell to the Tide 88-74 in the final minutes. Missouri is currently 9-8 overall and 1-4 in the SEC.
The Aggies are also looking to bounce back after a loss. South Carolina beat Texas A&M 81-67 Saturday. A win against Missouri would certainly help the Aggies, especially if they have any hopes of making a postseason appearance.

Ole Miss at Tennessee 9 p.m.

SEC Network

Ole Miss is seeking its first win in conference play and hoping to break their five-game losing streak. The Rebels will meet the Tennessee Volunteers in Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols are coming off a win against in-state rival Vanderbilt.

Jordan Bowden, Tennessee guard, broke out of his shooting slump against the Commodores and accounted for 21 points in the Vols 66-45 win Saturday. Bowden is a key player to watch tonight against the Rebels.

 

Story can also be found at wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville. 

 

 

 

Bye Week Check-In with Coach Mullen

Bye Week Check-In with Coach Mullen

The Florida football team entered their bye week coming off a win against the Missouri Tigers. They’ll face in-state rival Florida State for their final game of the regular season next Saturday, Nov. 30.

Facing an Interim Head Coach

Florida State fired Willie Taggart, former head football coach, on Sunday, Nov. 3. This was following a 27-10 loss to Miami the previous day. Defensive line coach Odell Haggins took over as interim head coach. This is not Haggins’ first time serving as interim head coach for the Seminoles. He took over coaching duties after Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M.

Since Haggins became interim head coach, the Seminoles are 2-0 with wins against Boston College and Alabama State. Like the Gators, FSU has a bye before their matchup.

According to Florida head coach Dan Mullen, facing an interim head coach can come with some challenges. Coaching power allows for some personality to be thrown in the game.

Florida vs. Florida State kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. next Saturday in the Swamp.

Nick Sproles

Yesterday news broke that Florida third-string, walk-on quarterback Nick Sproles has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Mullen confirmed this yesterday in his midweek teleconference. Sproles comes with high praise from the Florida program and will likely get some interest from smaller schools.

Sproles will remain with the Florida football program for the rest of the season and will graduate in the spring.

“He’s why they put the transfer portal in. He really would like the opportunity to go play next season, said Mullen.”

Players Leaving Early for the NFL

Mullen addressed the topic of players forgoing their senior seasons and leaving for the NFL. The bye week has given Florida’s coaching staff some time to sit down and talk with players about their futures.

About eight Gators are thinking about leaving early for the NFL and two to three could be serious about it, according to Mullen.

Story can also be found via ESPN Gainesville at wruf.com. 

Gator Defensive Backs Making It Work

Gator Defensive Backs Making It Work

The Florida Gator defense is young, but they are not afraid of a challenge. Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham’s unit has proven they can make it work.

Missing Key Players

In Florida’s first home game of the season against Tennessee Martin they lost arguably their best defender, C.J. Henderson. He suffered an ankle sprain. Henderson started in all 13 games of the 2018 season and is regarded as one of the top cornerbacks in the country. He did not play against Kentucky last week and is questionable for the Gators upcoming matchup against Tennessee. Junior Donovan Stiner will miss the first half against Tennessee because of a targeting penalty in the Kentucky game last weekend.

Stepping Up

The Florida Gator defense, particularly the defensive backs, have shown they are capable of stepping up. Against the Wildcats this past weekend they accounted for three interceptions and recovered one fumble. Brad Stewart Jr. recovered the first fumble for the Gators just three minutes into the game. The Gators defense builds off of each other. Defensive back Shawn Davis, along with his teammates, loved seeing Stewart make a play. It fueled them in a sense.

In the third quarter Davis intercepted Kentucky QB Sawyer Smith’s pass for a 72 yard return all the way to the Kentucky 21 yard line. When asked about that specific drive Davis said he just knew it was coming to him.

That wasn’t the end of Davis’ performance Saturday. He intercepted Smith’s pass with six minutes left in the game as well.

Florida also has been using a method of rotating its safeties throughout the game. According to Davis, this is because the team is “comfortable and confident” with all their guys playing.

“Coach Mullen puts players in the best position to make plays,” said defensive back Trey Dean.

The Gator defense is confident with their unit moving forward. Florida will take on Tennessee this Saturday at noon on ESPN.

 

Story can also be fond via wruf.com for ESPN Gainesville.

Everyone Has a Story

Picture this: it’s Saturday in the Fall and you’re getting ready to watch your favorite team play. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, that’s exatly where it all began for me. I discovered a love for sports at a young age. I found my passion and that I am extremely grateful for.

What many people don’t realize is that being a sports journalist is more than just knowing the stats. It’s about being able to tell someone else’s story, an athlete’s at that. Laura Okmin of FOX Sports recently taught me that in order to effectively tell another human being’s story you have to first tell yours. Being open and vulnerable is never easy, yet is so important. It’s something I deeply believe in. I believe that in order to be successful in this industry and in life you must have the confidence to trust yourself and your story. Never lose sight of your why. Never lose sight of where your passion all began.

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Laura Okmin and I

Here’s my story…

I’d like to begin with a person. He’s without a doubt the greatest grandpa I could ever ask for. He’s probably the reason I have the dream that I do. My grandpa was always around. His videocamera was always around too. And for some reason I was ALWAYS in front of it. I was (and still am) a pretty shy person, but whenever that camera was there it was as if I was in my element. I’m not sure if a videocamera can be a person’s safe place, but it might just be mine. It has always been my comfort zone. I talked and talked and talked….probably a little too much. I constantly asked my grandpa to record me. “Let’s make videos!!!” came out of my mouth quite frequently. I’d talk about anything and I wanted to record almost everything.

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#1 GPAW 

Let’s take a little detour on this story– My love for sports started when I came out of the womb. Not for playing them, but for watching them. I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. My family is huge Florida Gator fans, diehard. Saturdays were always filled with college football and cheering on the Gators. For as long as I can remember those were my favorite days. I loved that an entire day was devoted to family, football, and food. (3 of my favorite things) I think I have such a big love for sports because of the household I grew up in. I love that a game, a simple sporting event, can bring people together. I love the excitement and the thrill. If you ask my parents, they’d tell you I’ve always been destined to be sports reporter. Sometimes I got a little bit, shall we say, too excited when the Gators were playing.

If I’m remembering correctly it was in middle school when I began saying, “My dream is to become a college football reporter.”

And if you’re wondering, I haven’t stopped saying that. People would chuckle and not take me too seriously when those words came out of my mouth… and honestly I still get that same response. I’m not going to lie. That type of response, that “yeah, okay…” laugh annoys me, but it also motivates me. It motivates me to work hard, to make my dreams a reality.

In middle school I’d usually sit at a table with all the boys and make them quiz me with random sports facts. We’d have competitions to see who knew the most. I’d prove to them that girls know sports too. I proved to them that I knew what I was talking about.

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Knowledge makes up for height.

One weekend when my grandpa was visiting I asked him to help me make a mock sports reporting video, so I could send it off to ESPN. We spent hours setting up a fake sports studio in my dad’s office. I’m not kidding you I took the whole ordeal quite seriously. We even used the desktop computer as a teleprompter. I thought it was so perfect, I thought I was a genius. Looking back I now see that you can see the computer screen and my word document script in a reflection on the video. Anyways, I sent that sports reporting video off to numerous ESPN reporters along with some handwritten letters expressing my dream. Anything can happen right?

Flashforward about 3 months. The house phone rings. It was an unknown number so we didn’t answer. It calls again. And again. And again. FINALLY, I pick up the phone. At first I thought it was my grandpa playing a trick on me.

Then, the voice said, “It’s Lee Corso.”

I wish I had a recording of that phone call because I am sure I sounded completely shocked. I was shocked. Lee Corso of ESPN’s College Gameday was on the phone with me. AN ESPN REPORTER CALLED ME! For a middle school tween that was pretty exciting. Years later it still makes me happy to think about that moment. That was the moment I knew that anything was possible. That was the moment I knew that I could turn my dream into a reality. I have Lee Corso to thank for that. He enstilled a certain confidence in me.

Nobody believed me when I told them that Lee Corso called me. So… I wrote Corso another letter asking him to send me some proof. What’d he do? He sent proof.

Two years later, still in middle school, I was in the 8th grade and it was December… Christmas Eve to be exact. My brother was home from college. I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room with my dad. My brother was in the exam room and I didn’t really know why. I just went along for the ride. A few hours later we learned that my brother, 19 at the time, had testicular cancer. It’s safe to say that wasn’t the early Christmas present my family was hoping for.

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My brother, Tyler, ended up having surgery and going through chemo. He lost weight and he lost hair. It was probably one of the hardest things I had to witness, yet it taught me so much. Tyler never moped around or sat in pity. He was never upset, or at least he didn’t show it. My brother kept doing what he loved. For him that was fishing. He was enjoying his life and beating cancer at the same time. My brother taught me that you never know what life is going to throw at you. It’s important to make sure you’re doing what you love. My brother inspired me to chase my dreams full force. Why waste time? You never know what may happen. Enjoy every moment and make your dream your reality. That is what my mindset turned into.

Flashforward– my brother is 6 years cancer free and living his best life. After the whole cancer thing, Tyler went back to college for about a semester, but things weren’t really the same. He realized college wasn’t for him and decided to come home. To this day that’s something I have always applauded him for. I’m proud of him for having the courage to do what he felt was right for him. College is not for everyone and that’s okay. My brother ended up getting his captain’s license, started a charter fishing company, and is now getting ready to embark on a new adventure.

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It takes a lot to follow your heart, to chase your dreams. It’s not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Because of my brother I wake up each day with a mindset… the mindset to make it happen. I can and I will turn my dream of becoming a college football reporter into a reality.

It’s not going to be easy. I know that. I also know that hard work can take you anywhere in life. Throw in some dedication and anything is achievable.

 

If/when you see a five foot blonde headed female on the sidelines, know that it’s probably me. Know that I’m not just standing there to look pretty. Know that it was my dream and my goal. I have a why. I have a story. And so do you. If not, you probably just haven’t quite found it yet.

Former Gators in the World Cup Yet Again

There has been at least one Florida Gator in each of the last six World Cups. This year there will be four. Three alumnae and one current player all made 2019 World Cup rosters.

Canada’s Gator Roster

Rising junior Deanne Rose and Adriana Leon will each play for Canada’s women’s national team this summer. This will not be Leon’s first World Cup appearance. She was a part of Canada’s 2015 roster as well. Leon, an Ontario, Canada native, transferred to Florida from Notre Dame for the 2012 season. She scored a total of five goals for the Gators, four of which were game winners. Leon started in 17 games and played in all 22 during her one season with Florida. Deanne Rose, current Gators’ soccer star, began her journey with Florida in 2017. In her first season, she led the team with nine goals and 21 points. Rose was the only freshman on 2017 All-SEC first team. She was also named SEC Freshman of the Year. Adding to Rose’s accomplishments, in 2016 she was a member of Canada’s Olympic Team.

Jamaica’s Gator Roster

Lauren Silver and Havana Solaun, both Gator graduates, will be making their first World Cup appearance with Jamaica. The two Florida natives played at UF together from 2011-2014. Solaun was co-captain of Florida’s 2013 and 2014 teams. She was also a member of the 2013 and 2014 All-SEC First Team. Solaun has played with two NWSL teams and currently is with Klepp IL in Norway. Silver played left outside back for the Gators and appeared in 82 matches.

According to Florida head coach Becky Burleigh, “She’s [Silver] really tenacious, she’s really tough and she will just work the entire game. She’s someone you know that is never going to quit.”

Following Silver’s collegiate career she played with teams in Sweden, France, and Scotland. She is currently with the Norwegian Toppserien club SK Trondheims-ørn.

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins in France Saturday, June 7. The final set will be Sunday, July 7 in Lyon, France.

 

Story can also be found via ESPN Gainesville at wruf.com