2/10: Gators avoid a letdown, praise Parsons

By Adam Silverstein
February 11, 2011

No. 17/19 Florida Gators (19-5, 8-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability Thursday.

AVOIDING A LETDOWN AT SOUTH CAROLINA

On Monday, OGGOA noted that all but one of the Gators’ losses this season have come after a hard-fought and/or impressive victory. Florida fell to Central Florida after beating Florida State 55-51 on the road, lost to Jacksonville in overtime after defeating then-No. 6 Kansas State in South Florida, dropped a tough one to the South Carolina Gamecocks following a 81-75 overtime win at Tennessee, and lost to Mississippi State after taking down Georgia 104-91 in two overtimes. Coming off two difficult home games against top 25 opponents, UF was successful in not repeating that trend Wednesday.

“They really came into our place and outplayed us [on Jan. 15],” Donovan said. “Besides having a week of playing against Vanderbilt and also playing against Kentucky, we were also going to play against a team that beat us. Our guys had a respect level going into Columbia knowing that this team beat us on our home court, knowing it was going to be a battle and a challenge at their place.”

PARSONS TURNING THINGS AROUND

What senior forward Chandler Parsons has accomplished on the court over the last few weeks is undeniable. Marred in a shooting slump and seemingly lacking confidence early in the season, Parsons has begun to ignore outside influences and is instead concentrating on doing one thing – winning basketball games.

“The biggest thing with him is playing without intention. When you go into a game with intentions to do anything, or you have intentions of how the game is going to go or what you’re trying to do in the game, that’s generally going to lead to a lot of bad things,” Donovan said. “Chandler’s in a place right now mentally that he’s playing, he’s making good decisions, he’s making good passes, he’s rebounding the basketball, he’s shooting at the right time, he’s passing at the right time and he’s really playing with no intention. The only intention he’s playing with is to make the next best play. He’s grown in that area.

“It’s not necessarily the scoring, it’s not necessarily the rebounding or the assists, it’s just him playing the right way. When you’re a good player in today’s day and age, there’s a maturity you have to have to deal with the expectations – both internal expectations, outside expectations, expectations to get to the next level. If you’re not mature enough mentally, and you let that stuff creep in, it can really have an ill effect on how you play.”

Teammates redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin and junior point guard Erving Walker are notably impressed with how Parsons has been playing. “He realizes how much he can do for this team,” Macklin said. “He’s one of the more versatile players I’ve ever played with in my life. He’s just taking his time, playing, and helping us out a lot.” Walker agrees. “That’s what we’ve expected from him the whole time. Being 6’10” and so versatile, he can shoot, pass and rebound,” he said. “He’s been playing with a lot of confidence, and we just want him to keep it up.”

For his part, Parsons realizes he was forcing things earlier in the season. “[I was] trying to get involved and stuff like that. I’ve realized – just let the game come to me,” he said. “I’m going to take what the defense gives me but at the same time be very aggressive, not just try and score [but also] try to get my teammates open shots, try to get our big guys the ball down low and try to rebound, defend.” Now he’s doing his best to handle the success he’s found. “I don’t really feel pressure. When you’re playing, you can’t put expectations on yourself or your team, you just got to keep playing and keep trying to get better,” he said. “It really is irrelevant what other people say; you just have to keep playing your game.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on the team’s penchant for turnovers Wednesday: “The way [South Carolina] played defense, they’re very, very aggressive at the basket because they’re the best shot blocking team. When you drive the ball down the lane, they really jump up and try to block shots. We did a better job in Columbia than we did at our place. It’s a different kind of team to go against because when you do drive the ball, or the ball does go into the post, their rotations are a little bit different than some teams because of their aggressiveness in trying to create turnovers.”

Donovan on the team’s confidence: “They’re playing hard. They’re locked in and focused in on what they need to do each game.”

Macklin on if it is strange seeing Parsons dunk: “Yeah. It’s weird because we’ll be in the gym just playing around and he can’t do a dunk. Then we’re in a game and it’s like he comes out of nowhere flying for a dunk. It’s kind of surprising because when I first got here, I ain’t know Chandler could jump the way he jump. He surprises me every time he do a dunk or crashes for an offensive rebound.”

Walker on his season-high 25-point performance: “It’s always good to shoot the ball well, but I’m not even focused on the makes or misses, just taking good ones and staying confident.”

Walker on when he noticed that he posted 25: “I didn’t even realize it. Actually Vern told me when we was on the plane. I’m not really focused on that stuff just as long as the team’s winning and we’re playing how we’re supposed to.”

Walker on the team’s confidence: “Definitely we have more confidence with the way we’ve been playing. You can see it with the chemistry that we’re playing with right now.”

5 Comments

  1. Gator Pat says:

    Go Gators! It would be nice to make some noise in the tournaments this year!

  2. Ken says:

    The UAA should really invest in a media relations person for the athletes so they can talk better when interviewing. People with college educations shouldn’t be saying things like “I ain’t know Chandler could jump the way he jump. He surprises me every time he do a dunk” and ”
    Vern told me when we was on the plane”.

    And it is across all sports, and most universities. Just sad state of the “student” athlete

    • You mean so they can “speak” better? 🙂

      Every sport has a Sports Information Director (media relations person)…but you’re just picking out individual quotes. It’s not as bad as those two quotes sound…most of the time they speak perfectly fine.

      • Ken says:

        Hah! ok, speak. Sure those 2 quotes are extreme, but you listen to interviews after games and it just makes you cringe. Some of those Donovan and Meyer transcripts from press conferences often made me scratch my head and wonder if they really spoke like that. It isn’t isolated to hoops, it is a real problem across the NCAA, and why so many question what kind of an education the athletes are actually receiving.

        • I know what you’re saying. It is mostly because they are indifferent in answering the questions. Don’t want to put much time or effort into it. With Donovan and Meyer, they have a lot on their minds so trying to express themselves quickly and thoroughly can be difficult at times.

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