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JANUARY 2008— Table of Contents
- ALL GROWN UP
Gator bigman Marreese Speights matures on and off the court to lead the Gator basketball team
June 1. That’s the day Gator fans will always remember as the day that Billy Donovan said good-bye Florida, hello Orlando Magic. Six days later, Billy was back where he belonged, coaching the Gators after realizing that his heart belongs in Gainesville and not in the play-for-pay ranks of the National Basketball Association. This story isn’t about Donovan and how he realized he made a huge mistake only to rectify things by coming back to the place he loved. This is about one young man that used those six days to grow up.
- FIVE FABULOUS FRESHMEN
Nick Calathes, Adam Allen, Jai Lucas, Alex Tyus, and Chandler Parsons are already making an impact
They are Florida’s Fab Five, a recruiting class that in many ways mirrors Billy Donovan’s last great recruiting class of Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Joakim Noah and Taurean Green. Only time will tell if Nick Calathes, Adam Allen, Alex Tyus, Chandler Parsons and Jai Lucas will elevate Florida basketball to the same level as the ‘04s, but in terms of unselfishness and a burning desire to get better every day in practice, there is an amazing similarity
- TIME FOR THE TENNESSEE TWO-STEP
Volunteers expected to win the Southeastern Conference this winter
Can you hear the music, the sweet little ditty that percolates from the Chattanooga foothills to the Blue Ridge mountains in Johnson City? Wish that I was on ole Rocky Top Down in the Tennessee Hills Ain’t no smoggy smoke on Rocky Top Ain’t no telephone bills If you’re a Southeastern Conference sports fan, you heard it in football. Well, get used to it, because you’ll hear it again soon as SEC basketball starts in January.
- LIFE AFTER A NATIONAL TITLE
Florida Basketball starts over after unprecedented glory the past two seasons
When it comes to Florida basketball, Bill Koss has seen it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. As a player, fan and broadcaster, he has followed the Gators for more than 40 years. Through five decades. Through seven coaches. Through four athletic directors. Through the shame of an NCAA investigation. Through the fame of the first-ever Final Four.
- CHAMPAGNE ON ICE
Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler is not afraid to dream big
The rectangular package arrived soon after Amanda Butler was hired, from one colleague to another, from one former Florida coach to the new gal in town.
The gift—a bottle of Dom Perignon—came from Carol Ross. Attached was a congratulatory note with a bit of motivation: “A second bottle after you win a championship.” So for now, a single bottle of the bubbly sits in Butler’s office until an improbable quest is fulfilled. For the record, the Gators have never won a Southeastern Conference title, nor have they ever played in the Final Four. Championships? Well, there’s always a first time for everything.
- A SOPHOMORE’S JOURNEY
Dustin Doe adjusts to the ups and downs of a promising football career
The cliché is true. A year does make a difference. A big difference. Just ask Dustin Doe, who has rolled with the changes throughout his football career, from one high school to another, from the land of the Seminoles to Gator Country, from a struggling high school program to a consistent collegiate national championship contender, from backup to starter.
With the help of a former FSU star, Gator recruit Caleb Sturgis has developed legendary leg strength
Dan Mowrey was exiting the playing field at Dolphin Stadium as his team concluded pre-game warmups before their state championship game. Place-kicker Caleb Sturgis had just drilled a pair of field goals from 55 and 65 yards before launching a kickoff that was perhaps the longest Mowrey had ever seen.
- HOLLYWOOD BOB’S TOP FIVE PROSPECTS TO FOLLOW
Every month, Gator Country Recruiting Analyst Bob Redman tells us who the Gators are hot after in football recruiting.
- THE RECORD WAS BROKEN, BUT THE MAN STANDS TALL
Buddy Martin’s column
The chill of November was beginning to cool the cloudy Thursday afternoon at Gator football practice. Two men in street clothes sat and watched, not 10 feet apart — the only spectators in the bleacher section. Deceived in appearance by the many years that had passed them by, they were unable to recognize each other — “The Cuban Comet” and the graying sports writer with the bulging waistline.
- BONUS EXTRA: Pull-out full color poster of Andre Caldwell breaking Carlos Alvarez’s record as he watches in the background
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