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Gator Report

Antonya English

Gators Casey Prather named Wooden All-American

Florida senior forward Casey Prather is among 10 players named to the John R. Wooden Award All-American team, announced today.

The team was selected through voting from nearly 1,000 college basketball experts and by fan voting across the nation.

Prather is averaging 13.8 points per game, with 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

All players included on the John Wooden All-American team are making progress towards graduation and have maintained a minimum grade point average of 2.0 -a criteria insisted upon by the late legendary coach Wooden. In addition to regular season play, voters could also consider performance throughout the first three rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in making their selections.

Florida, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, will play UConn Saturday at 6:09 p.m. in the first national semifinal game at Cowboys Stadium. The game will be televised on TBS>.

Here is the full Wooden All-American team:

Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Nick Johnson, Arizona 
Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati
Doug McDermott,  Creighton
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut 
Jabari Parker, Duke
Casey Prather. Florida
Russ Smith, Louisville
Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

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Gators don't see Dayton as Cinderella team

Because Dayton is a No. 11 seed and Florida is the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, many have given the Flyers the NCAA tourney "Cinderella" label.

The Gators are not among those. Florida's players said Friday the way Dayton is playing - having defeated Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford on the way to the Elite Eight - there is no way they should be considered a Cinderella.

"They're all great at shooting threes," Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "They have great percentages. They do a good job of getting in the lane. They're active on defense. I think that they have a lot of depth, have a lot of different guys who can score and put points on the board in a number of different ways.  It's going to be a challenge to match up with them and to stick with it for the whole 40 minutes."

Listen to Wilbekin talk more about today's game:

 

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Gators Michael Frazier focused, ready for battle with Dayton

Coming off a game-high 19 point game against UCLA, Florida sophomore guard Michael Frazier is feeling confident that his early-tournament shooting struggles are over.

But during interviews Friday prior to today's Elite Eight game against Dayton, Frazier was extremely focused.

He said the Gators are "excited for the opportunity" to play in another Elite Eight game - the second for Frazier - and that Florida's players continued to be fueled by their quest to "chase greatness."

When asked to define chasing greatness, Frazier said: "I think chasing greatness is just being locked in every single moment. Not worrying about the past, not worrying about the future, just trying to dominate every possession and be our best."

Watch Frazier talk more about today's game:

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Patric Young says Gators "won't let the moment get bigger than us"

When Florida plays Dayton tonight in the NCAA Tournament South Regional Finals, the Gators will be trying to advance to the Final Four for the fourth consecutive season.

The previous three, they've fallen short.

But the Gators said they are determined to not last past failures enter into their mindset and preparation for today's game.

Watch Young talk more about the Gators, Dayton and the NCAA Tournament.

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Video: Previewing Florida-Dayton

Times beat reporter Antonya English recaps Florida's victory over UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen and looks ahead to Saturday's meeting with Dayton in the Elite Eight.

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Late tipoff time not a huge concern for Gators coach Billy Donovan

For two weeks during the postseason, the Florida Gators have enjoyed the luxury of early-afternoon tipoff times.

During the SEC tournament in Atlanta, the Gators played at 1 and 3 p.m. during their three-day run.

In Orlando in the NCAA Tournament second and third rounds this past weekend, the Gators also had early afternoon games.

Tonight, the Gators aren't scheduled to tipoff until 9:45 p.m. - or possibly later if the first game between Dayton and Stanford runs longer.

But Florida coach Billy Donovan said the varying start times the Gators played throughout the regular season should help in preparation for tonight's late tipoff.

"I think you take your experience that you've had during the course of the year," Donovan said.  "We obviously went to Kentucky, played a 9 p.m. game on a Saturday - it was College Gameday.  "We played Missouri here at home in a 9:00 game. We had to go to Ole Miss and we had to play Ole Miss at Ole Miss at 11 in the morning - Ole Miss time.  We went to Arkansas and played at Arkansas, I think, at noon our time here. So we've had those experiences."

The only significant changes will come today with gameday preparation. …

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UCLA's Kyle Anderson was almost a Gator

Kyle Anderson will be trying to lead UCLA to victory over the Gators tonight, but if things had gone just a little differently, he'd be wearing Gator colors instead.

Anderson was highly recruited by Florida and was expected to sign, but had last-minute change of heart.

"It was a very close decision," Anderson said. "I wouldn't have had a problem with going to both schools. I just happened to like UCLA more. I think the player development that I saw when being recruited by coach Donovan, I think that played a big role in how much I liked Florida at the time. But I decided to come to UCLA, and I was happy with my decision."

Anderson will be a focal point for the Gators tonight. The 6-foot-9 point guard leads the team in rebounding (8.7) and assists (6.6) and poses serious matchup problems for the Gators.

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Casey Prather's road to the Final Four leads through hometown

Casey Prather chose to play his collegiate career far away from home because he thought Florida was the best place for him.

Now the senior F will try to help lead the Gators to the NCAA Tournament Final Four, and the path will lead through his home state.

The Jackson, Tennessee native will have a large contingent of family and friends on hand when the Gators play UCLA Thusday at FedExForum in Memphis.

Prather talked about the matchup, what the Gators have to do to win, and his excitement about playing near his home.

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Gators Scottie Wilbekin earns third-team NABC All-America honors

Scottie Wilbekin's postseason honors began with being named SEC Player of the Year. The Gators senior guard has now moved on to All-America honors.

Today, Wilbekin earned third-team All-America honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches, becoming the first Gator to make the NABC All-America list since Al Horford and Joakim Noah both earned second-team mention in 2007.

Earlier this month, Wilbekin earned Sporting News All-America honors, as well as SEC Player of the Year and SEC Tournament MVP recognition.

Here is the full list of the NABC All-Americans: …

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Limited number of tickets remain for NCAA South Regional

A limited number of tickets have become avaialable to this week's NCAA Tournament South Regional at the FedExForum in Memphis.

The tickets are the result of some of the team's in the region - Florida, UCLA, Dayton and Stanford – returning tickets allotted to them by the NCAA.

The No. 1 overall seed Gators will play UCLA at 9:45 on Thursday and Dayton will play Stanford at 7:15.

The University of Memphis, which is hosting the event, said in a release:

"A limited number of all session tickets for the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball South Regional in Memphis will be made available for general public purchase (Wednesday) at 1 p.m., CST. Session tickets are $160 and can be purchased at here."

Session packages include tickets to Thursday's semifinal matchups and Saturday's regional final.

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Gators advance to fourth straight NCAA Sweet 16

After a less-than-stellar opening game win on Thursday, the No. 1 seed Florida basketball team bounced back with an impressive win over No. 9 seed Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon at the Amway Center.

After the game, Gators senior center Patric Young said the Gators are far from satisfied.

"I enjoy that we're here, that we have the opportunity to continue to play, but I'm not going to be happy or satisfied until we reach our goal," Young said. "I'm not going to say it's a failure if we fall short, but there is just so much potential in this team and greatness within us, that if we go out and play like we did against Albany and allow a team to just take it from us, then we're cutting ourselves short."

More from Young in the Gators' victorious locker room

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After escaping Albany, Gators turn sights on Pittsburgh

It took much longer than almost anyone would have expected, but No. 1 seed Florida escaped with a 67-55 victory over No. 16 seed Albany Thuersday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament South Regional in Orlando.

Senior C Patric Young had his second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, and freshman G Kasey Hill was instrumental in a run that helped the Gators pull away from the Great Danes.

After the game, Florida senior G Scottie Wilbekin talked about the Gators' struggles and what they must do to get ready for Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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NCAA (ORLANDO) NOTEBOOK: Gators' Kasey Hill has toe injury

ORLANDO - Florida freshman guard Kasey Hill is suffering from turf toe and will be re-evaluated today prior to the Gators’ second round game against Albany.
Hill, the backup to starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin, is averaging 22.5 minutes per game. Over the past several weeks Hill’s minutes have increased and he’s provided valuable rest for Wilbekin who averages nearly 34 minutes per game. Hill played 16 minutes in Sunday’s SEC championship win over Kentucky. Hill participated in Florida’s practice Wednesday. …

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Gators refuse to overlook No. 16 seed Albany

Florida may be the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the Gators aren't interested in hearing any talk about No. 16 seed Albany being an underdog.

"They definitely can beat us," Florida senior F Casey Prather said. "They're a good team. We've just got to be ready, do a good job with scouting and preparation."

During Wednesday's media day, the Gators fielded numerous questions about whether Albany could even make Thursday's second round game competitive, but seemed to dismiss that notion.

"We understand any team can be beaten," sophomore DeVoon Walker said. "That helps us prepare. We don't get in over our heads and don't get too arrogant."

Tampa sophomore Michael Frazier will be playing in his second NCAA Tournament, and his shooting 60.9 percent from 3-point range in the month of March.

Watch as he talks about the upcoming tournament:

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Gators Scottie Wilbekin, Billy Donovan AP Player and Coach of the Year

Florida senior guard Scottie Wilbekin has been named AP Player of the Year and coach Billy Donovan is Coach of the Year, the Associated Press announced today.

It is the second consecutive week the two have been given the league's highest honors. Last week the SEC coaches voted Wilbekin and Donovan player and coach of the year respectively.

Wilbekin was a unanimous first team selection, and teammate Casey Prather was also a first-team selection. Senior C Patric Young was named to the second team.

Here is the full list of the AP All-SEC teams

FIRST TEAM

Julius Randle, Kentucky

Scottie Wilbekin, Florida

Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee

Casey Prather, Florida

Jabari Brown, Missouri


SECOND TEAM

Jordan McRae, Tennessee

Trevor Releford, Alabama

Johnny O'Bryant III, LSU

Patric Young, Florida

Jordan Mickey, LSU

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