Clear69° WeatherClear69° Weather

Gator Report

Antonya English

Multiple reports paint picture of troubled former Gator Aaron Hernandez

The ongoing investigation into a murder investigation involving New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has led to several disturbing reports about the former Gator star.

Massachusetts police are investigating the murder of a man who was a friend of Hernandez and the boyfriend of Hernandez's girlfriend's sister.

ABC News is reporting that Hernandez destroyed his home security system and cell phone, and had his house professionally cleaned before investigators entered his home with a search warrant.

And SI.com's Pete Thamel is reporting that former coaches worried about the circle of influence around Hernandez during his college days at Florida.

Hernandez has not been charged, although police had not ruled him out as a suspect on Thursday afternoon. The Boston Globe reported earlier Thursday that reports of "an imminent arrest" were incorrect.

Full Story

Florida Gators guard Michael Frazier II selected for USA Basketball U19 World Championship team

Michael Frazier II made the final cut on Sunday, before being selected for the team on Monday evening.

Getty Images

Michael Frazier II made the final cut on Sunday, before being selected for the team on Monday evening.

Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II is among 12 players who have been selected for the  USA Basketball U19 World Championship team.

The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship will be held June 24-July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic./ The team will be coached by Florida's Billy Donovan, VCU coach Shaka Smart and Virginia coach Tony Bennett.

Frazier, the former Plant standout and Montverde Academy graduate, was among 24 players invited to compete for a spot on the team. He made the final cut on Sunday, before being selected for the team on Monday evening. …

Full Story

Florida away game football tickets now on sale

If you want to see Florida play Miami for the last time in the forseeable future, you still have that chance.

Florida football tickets for five of the Gators' games away from Ben Hill Griffin Stadium are currently on sale.

The LSU game on Oct. 12 is sold out.

Tickets for the general public are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can order online, or by calling (352) 375-4683, ext. 6800, or toll free (800) 344-2867, ext. 6800, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Gator Ticket Office, located at Gate 1 of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Here are the games in which tickets remain:

Sept. 7, at Miami (Fla.), Coral Gables, Fla.

Sept. 28, at Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.

Oct. 19 at Missouri, Columiba, Mo.

Nov. 2 vs. Georgia, Jacksonville

Nov. 16 at South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.


Full Story

Gators guard Michael Frazier II among 16 finalists for USA Basketball U-19 team

Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier II, of Tampa, has made the first cut for the 2013 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship team.

Frazier is among 16 players still vying for a spot on the team. Originally, 24 of the nation's top 19-and-under players were invited to tryouts.

After four training sessions, 16 finalists remain. The roster will be pared down to 12 before the squad leaves on June 19 for three days of training at the Washington Wizards practice facility in Washington, D.C.

The 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship will be held June 24-July 6 in Prague, Czech Republic. The finalists, who must be 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1994) and a U.S. citizen to be eligible for this team, were selected by the USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team Committee.

"We had 26 really, really good players and all of the guys made the selection very, very difficult," said USA U19 and University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan.  "I think the things that stand out about this team is just the athleticism; the speed and quickness; the ability to defend and put pressure on people; and offensive rebound. …

Full Story

Florida LB Antonio Morrison arrested for battery

Florida sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison is facing a battery charge after he was arrested early Sunday morning for allegedly punching a bouncer at a local nightclub.

“GPD arrested UF LB Antonio Morrison after he punched a nightclub bouncer at the Kava lounge,’’ the Gainesville Police Department said in a statement on its website. He was charged with simple battery.”

According to the police reports, Morrison was identified by several witnesses who said he argued with a bouncer outside of the Kava Lounge on W. University Ave. in downtown Gainesville early Sunday. The argument was reportedly over the cost of the club’s cover charge. Witnesses said Morrison was heard saying: ''Do you know who I am? I am a UF football player. I am Antonio!''

When told by the club’s bouncer that he was expected to pay the full cover price, Morrison allegedly punched the bouncer in the head. He was later identified from the UF website, according to police reports.

Morrison, a native of Bolingbrook, Ill, was later arrested at his dorm. He reportedly told police officers he got into a scuffle, but “it wasn’t that big of a deal.” …

Full Story

Florida's Mike Holloway named National Coach of the Year

Florida head coach Mike Holloway today was named the 2013 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) National Outdoor Men’s Coach of the Year.

This is the secon straight season Holloway has received the outdoors award, the fifth time Holloway has been honored by the USTFCCCA. He won three consecutive indoors honors rom 2010-12.

In his 11th year as the Gators’ coach, Holloway guided Florida to its second straight NCAA outdoor track & field national team title. The Gators scored 53 points for the crown, tying Texas A&M for the title. Florida won the final event - the 4x400-meter relay - to help secure its first-place finish. The Gators had trailed the Aggies by nine points before the finale.

Florida is the first team since 1978 (UTEP, UCLA) to share an NCAA outdoor title and Saturday was just the fourth time in NCAA history a tie occurred.

The Gators won three individual NCAA titles: the men’s 4x100-meter relay, 4x400-meter relay and senior Omar Craddock won his third career NCAA title in the men’s triple jump and second straight outdoors. Craddock’s jump of 16.92m/55-6.25, a new personal best for him, is the third-best jump in the U.S. in 2013. …

Full Story

Former Gator Mike Zunino gets called up to Major Leagues by Seattle

Mike Zunino most recently played for the Tacoma (Wash.) Rainiers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a .238 average in 47 games, with team-highs in RBI (43) and home runs (11).

AP photo

Mike Zunino most recently played for the Tacoma (Wash.) Rainiers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a .238 average in 47 games, with team-highs in RBI (43) and home runs (11).

Former Florida catcher Mike Zunino was called up to the Major Leagues by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday, one year after he was drafted in the MLB Draft first round with the third overall pick.

Zunino most recently played for the Tacoma (Wash.) Rainiers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, where he had a .238 average in 47 games, with team-highs in RBI (43) and home runs (11). He also had 34 runs, 12 doubles and a .503 slugging percentage.

Playing for Peoria of the Arizona Fall League, Zunino helped lead the Javelinas’ to the league title and was named to the AFL’s Top Prospects Team. In the championship game, he finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI as Peoria defeated the Salt River Rafters, 4-3.

Baseball America rated him No. 1 on the Mariners’ list of top-10 prospects at the beginning of December and said that he was the best power hitter and the best defensive catcher within the organization. …

Full Story

Florida guard Scottie Wilbekin suspended indefinitely

Scottie Wilbekin, a native of Gainesville, averaged 9.1 points and five assists as a junior this past season.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Scottie Wilbekin, a native of Gainesville, averaged 9.1 points and five assists as a junior this past season.

Florida junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin has been indefinitely suspended from the basketball team for an undisclosed violation of team rules, Florida coach Billy Donovan announced today.

This is the second suspension for Wilbekin in the past seven months. He was suspended on Nov. 8 - the day before the Gators were scheduled to play Georgetown on the USS Bataan at Mayport, and eventually missed three games before he was reinstated.

Wilbekin, a native of Gainesville, averaged 9.1 points and five assists as a junior this past season.

After he was reinstated, Wilbekin often talked about learning a valuable lesson after having something that's taken away that's vitally important in his life.

He has had significant playing time in three seasons with the Gators, starting in 29 of 35 games this past season.

Whether Wilbekin's suspension will carry over into basketball season is unknown. He was expected to be a vital part of the Gators' rotation in 2013-14, but with his absence expectations on incoming guard Kasey Hill will be greater.

Full Story

Gators pitcher Jonathon Crawford selected in first round of MLB Draft

Florida junior pitcher Jonathon Crawford was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft on Thursday night. Crawford, a native of Okeechobee, was the 20th overall selection.

Crawford becomes the highest selection for a Florida pitcher since John Burke was chosen by the Houston Astros at No. 6 overall in 1991.

This is the second consecutive year that a Florida player has been taken in the opening round. Former Gator catcher Mike Zunino went third overall to the Seattle Mariners and left-hander Brian Johnson was picked 31st by the Boston Red Sox last June.

After pitching just 3.2 innings as a freshman, Crawford made 19 appearances and 14 starts as a sophomore in 2012, going 6-2 with a 3.13 ERA and tied for second on the squad with 73 strikeouts in 77.2 innings. He started in nine of the Gators’ 10 SEC series and was 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in 38.2 innings during league action. …

Full Story

Florida bassketball to play in December Jimmy V Classic

The Florida men's basketball team will get a chance to showcase itself nationally early this season when the Gators participate in the Jimmy V Classic on ESPN.

Florida is part of the men's doubleheader, which will be held on Dec. 17 at Madison Square Garden. Pittsburgh will play Cincinnati at 7 p.m., and Florida will play Memphis at 9 p.m.

Florida is ranked No. 6 in an early ESPN.com preseason Top 25, and Memphis is ranked No. 19.

Florida finished the 2012-13 season with a 29-8 record and won its sixth SEC Championship and fourth outright title. The Gators advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championship for the third consecutive season, the only team in the nation to do so.

Memphis finished 31-5 overall and had a perfect 16-0 record in Conference USA. The Tigers swept the Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles and earned an NCAA Championship berth, advancing to the third round. Next year Memphis will begin competing in the American Athletic Conference. …

Full Story

Three Florida teams rank nationally among top 10 percent academically

Three Florida athletic programs are among the 976 teams recognized by the NCAA today for high academic achievement based on the NCAA's APR (academic progress rate).

The Gators' softball, women's basketball and women's cross country teams were among the top performing APR's this year. Top performing APRs this year ranged from 978 to a perfect 1,000, with the majority of teams earning a perfect APR.

The 976 teams represent 594 women’s teams and 382 men’s or mixed squads.

“The NCAA’s quintessential student-athlete exhibits dedication and commitment both on the playing field and in the classroom,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “These teams and programs truly embody the overall values of the NCAA, and have exceeded standards to post fantastic academic scores. We are delighted by such a clear example of our membership’s commitment to providing well-rounded experiences to student-athletes.”

Nine NCAA national champions from 2012-13 are among the teams recognized as top performers including two SEC schools: Alabama (football and men's golf) and Georgia (men's swimming. …

Full Story