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Gator Report

Antonya English

Former Gator Michael Frazier headed to Warriors' NBA summer league

Former Gators guard Michael Frazier will participate in an NBA summer league after going undrafted in Thursday night's NBA Draft.

"He will play summer league with the Golden State Warriors," Frazier's agent, Matt Ramker said in a text message.

Frazier, a Tampa native, decided to forego his senior season to enter the 2015 NBA Draft. After an impressive showing in the NBA Combine, and workouts for more than a dozen teams, Frazier was projected by some, including ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, as a second round draft pick.

"Michael Frazier as a shooter, he's one of the better shooters in the draft," Bilas said earlier this week. "Michael's got size, and he's got a high release on his shot, and he's a very good shooter.  I'm not sure I would classify him as a great shooter, but he's a very good shooter, and he does a good job running off screens. He sets his feet really well, and his size sets him apart and makes him a more attractive prospect."

But by the end of the draft, Frazier, who averaged 12.1 points during his junior season at Florida, was not among the 10 players from the SEC who were drafted. …

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New SEC commissioner Greg Sankey supports calls to remove Confederate flags

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement Wednesday afternoon he supports calls to remove the Confederate battle flag from public places, including SEC member institutions.

Following the murder of nine people in a church in Charleston, S.C. this past week, South Carolina governor Nikki Haley announced she would ask the state legislature to order the removal of the Confederate flag from the State House. Today, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley followed suit, ordering the removal of the flag from government property.

"I support the calls made to remove the prominent displays of the Confederate battle flag, and applaud the leadership demonstrated around this issue," Sankey said in a statement released by the SEC office. "SEC universities are learning communities filled with people of diverse ethnicities. Through intercollegiate athletics we provide a rallying point for people of all backgrounds and beliefs. We must provide our student-athletes an opportunity to learn & compete in an environment conducive to all races, creeds and colors." …

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Gators softball staff named National Staff of the Year

Florida softball coach Tim Walton and his staff have been named the 2015 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Coaching Staff of the Year, the NFCA announced today.

It is the first NFCA national honor received by the UF staff in program history.

Walton and his staff were previously named NFCA Southeast Region Coaching Staff of the Year four times (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011).

The honor is bestowed upon Walton, assistant coach Jennifer Rocha and former assistants Kenny Gajewski and Stacie Pestrak (volunteer). Gajewski left the staff earlier this month to become the head softball coach at Oklahoma State. 

Walton and the staff led the Gators to a 60-7 record in 2015, an SEC title and a its second consecutive national championship.  UF reached the 60-win plateau for just the third time in history and posted its third-highest win percentage (.895).

The Gators ranked first nationally in winning percentage, tied for first in wins, were first in fielding percentage (.981), fourth in ERA (1.63), 11th in on-base percentage (.438), 22nd in scoring (6.55 runs per game), 29th in slugging percentage (.514) and 32nd in home runs per game (1.19). …

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Gators add junior college All-American Justin Leon to roster

Florida picked up a much-needed post player for the 2015 season with the addition of 6-foot-8 forward Justin Leon.

Leon will be able to compete immediately and has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He joins a class of three incoming freshmen, all ranked in the top 80 of the ESPN100 recruit rankings for the 2015 class: KeVaughn Allen, Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone.

Leon was a junior college All-American at Shawnee (Ill.) Community College this past season, averaging a double-double (21.5 ppg., 10.0 rpg.). He shot 50.4 percent from the field.

A native of Conway, Ark., Leon is one of four players in Division I NJCAA to rank in the top 20 in points (16th) and rebounds (20th) last season. He had 16 double-doubles, scored a season-high 31 points twice, reached 20 or more points 20 times and scored double figures in every game, also posting a season best of 19 rebounds.

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Gator basketball to face Oklahoma State in Orange Bowl Classic

Florida will make its 17th appearance in the annual Orange Bowl Classic basketball tournament when the Gators play Oklahoma State on Dec. 19.

It is one of two trips the Gators have scheduled to South Florida in December. Florida will play at Miami on Dec. 8.

Also in that tournament, Florida State will play FAU.

Florida has a 14-2 record at the Orange Bowl Classic, but it will be the first appearance for new head coach Michael White.

The Gators and Oklahoma State last met in the Elite Eight of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in which Florida won and advanced to the Final Four. This will be the first appearance for the Cowboys in the Orange Bowl Classic, while Florida State will be making its seventh appearance and FAU will make its third appearance.

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Gators athletic program finishes fourth nationally in Learfield Cup

With the aid of 13 top-10 finishes in national championship action - including a pair of NCAA championships in gymnastics and softball - the Florida athletics program earned its seventh-consecutive top-four finish in the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup.

Florida is the only program to finish among the nation's top 10 in each of the last 32 national all-sports standings.

The Learfield Sports Directors' Cup, presented annually by the nation's athletics directors, recognizes the schools with the best overall sports performances in an academic year. Points are awarded based on finishes and participation in 20 NCAA Division I sports.

Stanford won its 21st consecutive Directors' Cup this season.

The Gators' 13 top-10 national team finishes equals the second-highest in school history. At least 10 Florida eams have turned in top-10 finishes in each of the last 14 seasons. The program's record of 14 top-10 finishes came in 2009-10. …

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Gators' Maquis Dendy named National Men's Field Athlete of the Year

Florida senior Marquis Dendy has been named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association National Men's Field Athlete of the Year.

One of the most decorated jumpers ever, Dendy won six of his seven national titles in the past three consecutive NCAA Championships. He owns both the long and triple jump school records indoors, and the school record in the triple jump outdoors.

Dendy is both the indoor and outdoor 2015 USTFCCCA National Field Athlete of the Year and has the second-best all-conditions long jump in the world this year, and the third-best all-conditions triple-jump performance in the world entering the USA Outdoor Championships next week back in Eugene.

Dendy finished his collegiate career last weekend with seven national titles, 13 All-America honors and seven SEC Championships between the long and triple jump events. He's swept both at every championship meet since 2014 NCAA Outdoors, including 2015 SEC and NCAA Indoors, SEC and NCAA Outdoors.

He was the 2015 USTFCCCA Indoor National Field Athlete of the Year and the SEC and USTFCCCA Outdoor Regional Field Athlete of the Year.

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Ex-Alonso star Alex Faedo to start for Gators tonight in CWS

Alex Faedo (5-1, 3.36) will take the mound for the first time since the Gators’ third game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional against Florida Atlantic on May 31.


Alex Faedo (5-1, 3.36) will take the mound for the first time since the Gators’ third game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional against Florida Atlantic on May 31.

Freshman right-hander Alex Faedo, an Alonso alum, will make his first career start for the Gators tonight against Miami in the College World Series in Omaha.

No. 4 Florida (50-17) and No. 5 Miami (50-16) will face each other for a fifth and final time this season at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha tonight at 8.The game will be televised on ESPN.

On Monday, the Gators lost to Virginia in a winner’s bracket matchup, 1-0, ending its season-high 10-game winning streak. The Hurricanes used a walk-off single to defeat Arkansas, 4-3 in an elimination game.

Faedo (5-1, 3.36) will take the mound for the first time since the Gators’ third game of the NCAA Gainesville Regional against Florida Atlantic on May 31 (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K). He has faced Miami before, pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief in the series opener with the Hurricanes on Feb. 20.

In the CWS opening round this past Saturday, the Gators earned a 15-3 win over the Hurricanes, the  20th victory over Miami in the last 25 meetings. The Gators will need to defeat Miami tonight and then down the Cavaliers twice to advance to the CWS Championship Finals. …

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Gators coach Jim McElwain gives $5,000 to help former Colorado State player in dire need

Florida coach Jim McElwain may be busy trying to help rebuild Floria's football program, but apparently he still has compassion and concern for many of his former players, including those from Colorado State where he was head coach before joining the Gators' program this past December.

McElwain has pledged $5,000 to a GoFundMe account for former Colorado State DL Eli Edwards.

According to The Coloradoan, Edwards' wife Isa Edwards died on June 6 from complications of lupus.  Since then, Eli Edwards and his daughter, Ellyse, have been in New Zealand — where Isa was receiving treatment — unable to afford to fly back to the United States and hold a funeral for his late wife.

The fund was started on June 8, and so far McElwain has given the largest donation.

More on the story here.

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Weather alters game times for Gators, others at College World Series

The Florida baseball team could be in for a long day - and night - in Omaha today.

The schedule for Monday’s games at the NCAA College World Series has been impacted by inclement weather and the Gators' winner’s bracket game between Florida (50-16) and Virginia (40-22) will be the third game of the day at TD Ameritrade Park.

In today's first game, Cal State Fullerton will resume last night's game against Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. The Titans are leading, 3-0, in the bottom of the sixth inning, with the Commodores batting.

Approximately 55 minutes after the conclusion of that game, Arkansas will play Miami in an elimination game.

The Gators (50-16) and Virginia (40-22) will play their game about 55 minutes after the conclusion of the second game.

The game will televised nationally on ESPN2.

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Gators track standout Marquis Dendy wins second consecutive NCAA long jump title

Florida senior Marquis Dendy, a six-time national champion, earned the best all-conditions long jump at the NCAA Championships since 1993 on Wednesday at storied Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Dendy's 27 foot, 8-inch leap set a new all-conditions PR and is the No. 2 mark in the world. It also gave Florida 10 points, which helped the Gators finish in second place (16) after the first day of the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Oregon leads the competition with 34 points.

It was Dendy's second consecutive NCAA long jump championship.

"I thought we did a great job," Florida coach Mike Holloway said. "Marquis - wow - 27-8 and he wasn't even on the board for that. To then come back and have two other 27-foot jumps that were legal. Phenomenal job by him. He is who he is and does what he does."

The Gators men's team will return to competition at 7:30 p.m. Friday seeking their sixth national championship. The men's team national champion will be crowned Friday following the second and last day of men's finals competition.

The women's team will begin competition today, and a women's champion will be crowed Saturday evening.




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Pitchers Bobby Poyner, Aaron Rhodes among eight Gators selected in the MLB Draft

Florida senior pitcher Bobby Poyner was selected in the 14th round of the Major League Baseball Draft today by the Boston Red Sox, the 411th overall pick, and pitcher Aaron Rhodes was selected by the Angels in the 28th round.

That brings to eight the number of Gators drafted in the 2015 MLB Draft.

Poyner is 5-2 this season with a 2.73 ERA. He also has four saves in 24 appearances.

On the first day of the MLB Draft, Bloomingdale High alum and Gators shortstop Richie Martin was selected in the first round, the 20th overall selection by the Oakland A's.

On Tuesday, five other players were selected: OF Harrison Bader was selected in the third round by the St. Louis Cardinals; P Eric Hanhold was drafted in the sixth round by the Milwaukee Brewers, and P Danny Young was picked in the eighth round by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Pitcher Taylor Lewis was drafted in the ninth round by the Atlanta Braves and senior third baseman Josh Tobias was selected in the 10th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. …

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Gators Lauren Haeger named Honda Sports Award winner in softball

Florida senior pitcher Lauren Haeger has been named the 2015 softball recipient of the Honda Sports Award, designating her as the nation's best female athlete in the sport.

The award is based on the the results of national balloting among all NCAA member schools as part
of The Collegiate Women Sports Awards program, now in its 39th year.

“It was such an honor to hear that I was nominated for the Honda Award, so it was wonderful to find out I was chosen as the winner,” Haeger said. “Thank you to the Honda Award program for sponsoring this honor which means so much to so many women’s collegiate athletes. I’d also like to thank my Gator teammates and coaches for all their support – it truly has been amazing to be a part of this program.”

Haeger was recently named the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year and earned the win in the 2015 NCAA Championship title game. The senior pitcher is a two-time NFCA first-team All-American and was twice named to the All-SEC first-team. The reigning SEC Player of the Year, she holds the SEC record for career home runs (71) and the school record for career RBIs (259). …

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Selected in the MLB Draft an "awesome feeling" for Gators Richie Martin

When the call came he had been waiting for most of his life, Richie Martin missed it.

The Gators junior short stop was getting so many calls on his cell phone that when management from the Oakland A's tried to contact him to let him know he was going to be the 20th overall selection for the A's, Martin didn't get the call.

"Actually, I missed the phone call, " said Martin, who was at home in Brandon with his parents and a few close friends and family for the first day of the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday. "My phone was going crazy. Billy Beane actually called my agent and he was talking to him. I was supposed to answer a call after I got picked, and I couldn't because my phone was getting all these texts and calls and nothing was coming through. So I actually missed the call and had to call him back. So he left a voicemail and it was pretty cool getting a voicemail from him and then having to call him back."

Martin was projected to go no sooner than 29th overall by many draft experts, and some had him lower. Count him among those who were suprised he went as high as he did. …

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Gators SS Richie Martin selected by Oakland A's in first round of MLB Draft

Florida shortstop Richie Martin became the fourth Gator player under coach Kevin O'Sullivan to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball Draft when he was selected 20th overall by the Oakland A's Monday night.

To say the week leading up to the draft had been difficult for Martin is a little bit of an understatement.

Martin, a Bloomingdale High alum, has had to battle the understandable urge to contemplate his future, while keeping his focus on his job as the Florida Gators’ starting shortstop. Martin is batting .292 and leads Florida with 59 runs and 20 stolen bases.

College baseball is a sport in which the professional draft overlaps the season, which can be difficult for both coaches and players who are participating in the postseason.

“Try as much as you want, but it’s in the back of your head,” Martin said. “I’ve tried all year. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t in the back of my head. I try my best to keep it out of my mind. That’s all I can do. The best thing I can do is help my teammates out and do all I can to win.” …

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