VETTEL: Gator Hoops Needed One To Stay

When Matt Walsh joined Anthony Roberson in declaring his intention to explore his NBA opportunities I admit I figured it was just a phase. Well it turned out to be phase-one of the next level of his basketball life. While most of us expected Roberson to end his college career, losing Walsh creates some serious issues for the Florida backcourt.

As I write this (6/16) it is still possible Roberson will see the writing on the wall --- in six foot letters --- and decide to return to UF. If he does, Florida goes into the year a very strong contender in the SEC and likely to maintain its NCAA Tournament appearance streak. But if not, Florida goes into the season with Lee Humphrey the most experienced member of the backcourt and lots of questions.

Answer Could be Found Within

Derwin Kitchen, Walter Hodge and David Huertas will be contenders for playing time this year with Kitchen and Hodge likely to step right into Florida's playing rotation. But there is a wild card that could enter the mix and give Billy Donovan more options. That wild card is Cornelius Ingram.

The two-sport athlete from Hawthorne saw little playing time as a part-time basketball player last season, and saw limited practice time as a football player last spring. With most observers listing Ingram in fourth-place behind Chris Leak, Josh Portis and Gavin Dickey, the question is where should Ingram focus? Should he give football everything he has, either at quarterback or another position? Or is it time for the 6-5 Ingram to decide a commitment to basketball is in his best interests?

IF extended playing time is his prime goal Cornelius should say so long to the guys on the gridiron and dedicate himself to round ball. He could enter next season as Florida's starting two-guard alongside Taurean Green with Humphrey, Kitchen and Hodge providing depth.

There's a reason there are so few success stories among two-sport athletes. It's hard enough to be great at one sport. Yeah, Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders made money at both and Charley Ward has a Heisman and a NBA contract… but that's about it. At some point Ingram (and Dickey) will need to make the choice one way or the other. It appeared this spring Ingram's choice was going to be football. But after this spring, and if Roberson indeed joins Walsh in the pro game, his opportunities in Gainesville look better from the three-point line than from the line of scrimmage.

Omaha Surprises for Game One

There was one little surprise and one big surprise when the coaches announced their starting pitchers for the Friday afternoon College World Series opener between Florida and Tennessee. The little surprise (to me) is Pat McMahon's decision to go with Alan Horne over Tommy Boss for the matchup with the Vols. Boss has been superb in his NCAA starts and I figured Florida would give Horne another day of rest after his 140-plus pitch outing against FSU.

The bigger surprise comes from Tennessee Coach Rod Delmonico who is passing up Luke Hochevar for freshman James Adkins. I understand Delmonico's thinking. Florida knows Hochevar well. And the Gators are a better hitting team against right-handed pitching. But sending a freshman out there in the first game in Omaha is plenty risky. Florida smacked Adkins around when they saw him in Gainesville, but the rookie has been a whole lot better since. It's hard to quibble with a 10-4 record and 3.22 ERA, but I think the Vols may have done Florida a favor with this choice.

One thing the choice of Adkins does for certain is add importance to the early innings of Friday's game. You gotta figure the kid will be nervous early… possibly wild. Or he could be overthrowing and losing movement and command in the process. Add to that the fact that Horne has had most of his problems early in games and you have added incentive to get in front of the TV by game time.

Remember Father's Day

It always drives me nuts when they go to the sidelines to the guy who just scored a touchdown and it's always "Hi Mom"! What about dad?

I'm not downplaying mothers, mind you. I'm rather fond of my own and my daughters couldn't have a better one, but dad tends to get short shrift in a lot of things. I'm fortunate I get to spend time with my dad. In fact, Friday I head to New York to spend Father's Day with him for the first time in over a decade. We may watch the Gator game Sunday… hopefully it'll be a night game (winner's bracket).

So if your dad is still around… if he taught you about the right way to throw a football or shoot a basketball, give him a call. If he showed you how to swing a golf club or how to hold a pool cue, give him a call. If he taught you to swim or ride a bike or drive a car, give him a call.

But most importantly if you've drifted apart over the years and rarely talk over some trivial matter…. Give dad a call and appreciate the things you have to share.

My parents split up when I was a kid and I ended up in Florida at age 12 with my dad in New York. He wasn't there during those crucial high school years but we grew closer together after I became an adult. I never really appreciated my father until a very good friend lost his.

Then I started thinking about going to Yankee Stadium for "Bat Day" every year as my birthday present. I got to go to Mickey Mantle Day at Yankee Stadium in 1969 when my hero had his number retired… because my dad took me. I saw Al Kaline, Denny McLain, Carl Yastrzemski and Harmon Killebrew because my dad took me. I saw Brooks and Frank Robinson because my dad took me.

Happy Father's Day Dad.


Fightin Gators Top Stories