Jun 18, 2008

_Orlando to Play Host to “Gator Jam” in 2008

Florida Citrus Sports Executive Director Steve Hogan and University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley have announced that the Florida Gator men’s basketball team will play the University of Missouri-Kansas City in a neutral-site game in Orlando.

“Gator Jam” will take place November 30, 2008, at Amway Arena with tickets going on sale to the public Monday, June 23 (10:00 a.m. on Ticketmaster), and to FCSports members today (407.423.2476).

The appearance will be the first for Florida’s men’s basketball team in Orlando since 1997. The Gators have played 11 games all-time in The City Beautiful, with every contest coming between 1989 and 1997 and also being neutral site games (UF has never played UCF in Orlando).

Notably, the game will also include Orlando-area natives — Nick Calathes and Chandler Parsons — who led Lake Howell High School to the Florida 5A state championship en route to being named to McDonalds and Parade All-American teams as seniors.

The Gators finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 24-12 record, their 10th-straight season with 20 or more wins (fifth-longest run in the nation).

They appeared in the NIT last year, making their way to that tournament’s semi-finals in New York City.



“We are certainly excited to return to Orlando for the first time in over a decade,” said University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley. “The tremendous support we receive from the alumni and fan base in Orlando is extremely important to us, and we’re elated to be able to bring our basketball program to this great Gator city.”

After two consecutive national championships, the Gators’ young squad showed flashes of championship potential in 2007-08.

Last year’s Gator team featured seven freshmen on its 12-man roster, will lose no players to graduation, and returns just one senior (Walter Hodge) in 2008-09.

In addition, the 2008-09 recruiting class features two of Rivals.com’s top 20 players and one of the top classes in the nation for the second-straight year. (From The Sporting News (April 14, 2008): “The Gators had the top-ranked recruiting class in 2007, and their 2008 haul — led by power forward Eloy Vargas — is top-five material, too.”)

“When you think about the fact that our community will be able to enjoy one of the nation’s premier basketball teams, featuring two Central Florida players and family-friendly ticket prices, it’s hard not to get excited,” said FCSports Executive Director Steve Hogan.

Calathes and Parsons, both natives of Casselberry enjoyed strong freshman seasons.

Calathes was named SEC co-Freshman of the Year after breaking the school’s single-season assist record while breaking UF freshman records for points, assists, and free throws.

Parsons was sixth on the team in scoring his freshman season with 8.1 points per game while averaging 4.0 rebounds in nearly 21 minutes played per game.

Ticket prices for Gator Jam are as follows: Lower Level (Sidelines), $30; Lower Level (Corners/End Zone), $15; and Upper Level (all), $10.

For ticket information or to purchase tickets, call 407.423.2476 or go to www.Ticketmaster.com after 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 23.

Priority seating is available for members of Florida Citrus Sports as are advanced ticket sales.

For information on joining, visit FCSports.com.

Florida in the 2008-09 Pre-Preseason Polls

Rivals.com: #14
SI.com: #18
Fox Sports: #19


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