Tag: Oklahoma City Thunder


Donovan family thanks Florida fan base in full-page ad

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In late April Billy Donovan accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder, thus ending a two-decade run as head coach at Florida. During his time in Gainesville, Donovan led the Gators to two national titles, four Final Four appearances, seven Elite Eights (including a stretch of four straight years from 2011-14), six SEC regular season titles and four SEC tournament titles.

source: Getty Images

To say that he accomplished a great deal in Gainesville would be a major understatement, especially when considering the program’s history prior to his arrival.

Yet for as great of an impact that Donovan and his family had on the school, its basketball program and fan base, those who support the Gators impacted the Donovans as well. Sunday the family thanked the fan base in the form of a full-page ad in the Gainesville Sun, which can be seen in the embedded tweet above.

Their message read as follows:

“GOODBYE” is so difficult, especially after having spent two decades in this community. (And as you’ve seen before, leaving you all has never been easy for us!)

“The University of Florida and Gainesville embraced us from the day we arrived so long ago, and we have grown to love not only this local community that has so loved us, but all of Gator Nation — from Crescent Beach to Cedar Key, from Miami to New York, from Jacksonville to San Fransisco, to all over the nation and globe.

“We are so grateful to Jeremy Foley, staff and leaders at the University of Florida, along with scores of players and coaches who have become part of our family. And, of course, the Rowdy Reptiles.

We leave with hearts full of love and cherished memories of euphoria and heartbreak — on and off the court — shared at every step with our Gator family.

We are excited for all that Mike White brings as he puts his own unique mark on Florida basketball…Fannnnntastic!

And so, rather than goodbye, …until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

— Billy and Christine Donovan

They were sure to allude to Donovan’s first “dance” with the NBA, as he accepted an offer from the Orlando Magic in 2007 before changing his mind and deciding to return to Florida. This time around, the opportunity to coach a team led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook was too enticing to pass up.

h/t The Dagger

NAIA allows Cameron Rodriguez to keep $20K after hitting half-court shot at Oklahoma City Thunder game

Southwestern College

On November 18, Cameron Rodriguez hit a half-court shot during a break in the Denver Nuggets-Oklahoma City Thunder game, with the award being $20,000 dollars. However there was a question if Rodriguez, a student-athlete on the Southwestern College basketball team, could accept the payment.

Southwestern College is an NAIA program in Winfield, Kans. The NAIA disallows players benefiting financially off their specific athletic skills. On Tuesday, the NAIA announced that an agreement had been reached after Rodriguez and the school recommended that Rodriguez use the money toward a scholarship.

The 6-foot-6 sophomore forward for the Southwestern College Moundbuilders gets the money and retains his eligibility. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

“We’re pleased with the decision from the membership and specifically the NEC [National Eligibility Committee] that allows Cameron to keep his winnings to use towards his education,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a statement on Tuesday. “We feel the NAIA is the student-centered association in collegiate athletics, and this decision by our membership reflects that emphasis.”

“We are proud of our student-athlete for doing the right thing in contacting his coach before he did anything,” Dick Merriman, Southwestern College President said. “We are also proud of the NAIA for doing the right thing in their ruling. I am pleased with this outcome.”

[h/t Matt Norlander, CBS Sports]

Kentucky out of Top 25 for first time under Calipari

John Calipari, Ryan Harrow

Yes, Big Blue Nation, it finally happened. A Calipari-coached Kentucky team will play their next game without a ranking next to their name.

For the first time since Cal took over prior to the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats aren’t ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. It’s a product of back-to-back losses to Notre Dame on the road and Baylor at home, a loss that was also Cal’s first at home since taking over at Kentucky.

Now breathe. It’s going to be ok.

This team is not anywhere near the caliber of last season’s national champions that steam-rolled essentially everyone (sans Indiana and Vanderbilt) on it’s way to one of the greatest seasons in college basketball history. You probably knew that already.

But first of all, polls are dumb. They are meaningless, really. Especially this early. They factor a little bit into opinions for at-large bids in the NCAA Tournament. The end.

But mainly, this team has a huge deficiency in leadership and that’s due to the fact that for the first season under Cal, the team lacks the senior leader that has been through the pre-Calipari Domination years. There’s no Patrick Patterson, Perry Stevenson or Ramon Harris. No Jorts, DeAndre Liggins or Darius Miller. No big brother figure that can lead the team mentally and emotionally when they’re tired of hearing it from Calipari. No, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson don’t count.

It’s a newsworthy item because of Kentucky’s recent dominance. But nothing that should send Wildcats fans into a panic. There’s still four months to play until Selection Sunday.

David Harten is the editor of The Backboard Chronicles. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.