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Gators go through final prep day in Dallas before tournament
The Florida basketball team didn’t know who it would be playing in the NCAA Tournament until late Tuesday night, but by Wednesday afternoon the Gators had already gone through a full scouting report and a practice simulating what they will face in their opener.
The No. 6-seeded Gators (20-12) take on No. 11 St. Bonaventure in Dallas on Thursday night around 10 p.m. ET or thereafter.
They went through a practice Wednesday afternoon at SMU’s practice facility before arriving at American Airlines Center for their media session and public shootaround.
- Meanwhile, Florida assistant coaches Jordan Mincy and Dusty May explained how the Gators got prepped so quickly after the Bonnies defeated UCLA on Tuesday night in a First Four matchup.
- The coaching staff also showed the Florida players a video montage of analysts critiquing the Gators, which the staff hoped would fuel even more focus and motivation.
- Couldn’t make it to Dallas? Check out SEC Country’s on-site video taking you behind the scenes as the Gators arrived at the arena, clowned around in the locker room and went through a shootaround.
- Coach Mike White admits this Florida basketball team has been hard to figure out, even for him, but he said he’s hoping the Gators “have another positive chapter in us.”
- Here’s all the information to be ready to watch Florida take on St. Bonaventure on Thursday night.
- Also, the Gainesville Sun’s Kevin Brockway has a touching story on 11-year-old William Collett, who is battling leukemia and has a special bond with the Gators.
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In Florida football news …
- Florida wide receiver Josh Hammond recalls coach Dan Mullen recruiting his older brother Frankie when Mullen was the offensive coordinator for the Gators. Now, the younger Hammond will get to play for him, while looking to establish himself in a crowded wide receiver room. Read more here.
- Mullen said the Florida players’ decision to vote QB Feleipe Franks one of the eight team captains shows “they have belief in him as a leader.”
- SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi looks at Florida’s biggest concerns heading into the start of spring practice on Friday.
- The latest Chomp Chat podcast looks at how Florida’s current players are tasked with living up to the standards set by the program’s last national championship teams.
- Mohamoud Diabate, a 4-star linebacker from Auburn, Ala., visited Florida on Wednesday and spoke to SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi about his experience. “It was a great experience being at Florida and checking out the facilities, the campus and talking to the coaches,” he said. “Florida has been recruiting me for a couple months. I’m interested in what they’re doing and what they could be in the future with the new coaches.” Read more about Diabate here.
- Another high-profile linebacker, 4-star prospect Donte’ Starks from Marrero, La., announced he’ll visit Florida on April 12-13. “Florida has always been a great program,” Starks told SEC Country. “I think Dan Mullen will do great with that program. I’ll definitely be paying close attention to them this season.” Starks is ranked the No. 2 inside linebacker and No. 37 overall recruit in the Class of 2019 by 247Sports. Read more here.
- Gator Country’s Andrew Spivey took a look at 4-star Class of 2019 dual-threat quarterback Taisun Phommachanh, who has a visit planned to Gainesville. Read more here.
What they’re saying on Twitter
- The official Florida basketball account released its hype video for the NCAA Tournament:
— Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) March 15, 2018
- Gators point guard Chris Chiozza (a.k.a. “Cheese”) has a new nickname:
— Michael. S (@Sammie3902) March 15, 2018
- Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland putting football and his motivation in perspective:
I grew up in poverty..I’m from a city where many don’t make it out.. I lost my brother! Now you see why I play this game … it’s not about me never was I’m just trying to correct my mistakes and take advantage of this opportunity God blessed me with pic.twitter.com/H8z1yrtBq6
— Cleve (@Tyrie_1) March 14, 2018
- Florida offensive lineman Fred Johnson is a believer in redshirt sophomore QB Kyle Trask:
— Fredrick Johnson (@FredDaDon74) March 15, 2018
- The Seattle Mariners put together this video on former Florida Gators star Mike Zunino:
You know Mike Z—but do you really KNOW Mike Z?
— Mariners (@Mariners) March 14, 2018
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The post Florida Gators ready for NCAA Tournament opener with St. Bonaventure appeared first on SEC Country.