2/20: Post-game notes, Parsons injury update

By Adam Silverstein
February 22, 2011

No. 13/13 Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) head 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 after his team’s 68-61 win over the LSU Tigers on Sunday.

PRATHER ALLOWED PRESS TO REEMERGE

Donovan loves utilizing the press defensively, something he has had to step away from over the last few games with a senior but less athletic frontcourt than he once had. With senior forward Chandler Parsons (deep thigh bruise) out of action and freshman F Casey Prather taking his place, Donovan saw the opportunity to speed up the pace of the game with his signature press.

“We’re a better pressing team when Casey’s out there – with his athleticism and his length,” he said after the game. “We felt like we wanted to try to utilize him and Will [Yeguete] and Scottie [Wilbekin] – those guys are pretty good pressing guys. Knowing that we were going to have to play those guys more minutes, I thought if we could get the game going up-and-down, it may take some pressure off those guys being young guys on the road having to play more significant minutes. When we pressed, a couple times we turned them over, but more than anything else we applied pressure.”

Donovan also spoke about Prather’s performance and was quite complimentary. “He did a pretty good job. I wasn’t really going in expecting him to score 15 points and grab eight rebounds,” he said. “I was more expecting him to play hard and play aggressive. Casey, over the last few weeks, to his credit, has come to practice and has tried to work hard every day, tried to get better. Overall I was pleased with the way he played.”

With Georgia coming to town Thursday, Donovan may choose to shelve the press due to his opponent’s athleticism and ability to shoot the ball. Of course, it may not a moot argument if Parsons is back in the starting lineup.

HEALTH OF PARSONS CONCERNS DONOVAN

On Friday, Donovan told the media that Parsons was “50-50″ to play Sunday, noting that as long as he could play on the leg with the deep thigh bruise, there was not much that could actually make it worse. When it came down to game time, playing Parsons was not even an option for Florida.

“I’m concerned about that right now,” Donovan said. “[He] definitely could not play. He did a workout on Friday by himself and had a very, very difficult time moving and cutting and jumping. What ended up happening was, his leg got swollen again, which is probably not a great sign. I don’t think he was set back.” Though Parsons was fine working out in the pool, his leg began to swell once he started running on the hardwood, Donovan noted.

“I don’t know if he’ll play against Georgia. I don’t know that yet. I don’t have any time frame of him to be back,” he added. “I would say that I do not expect him back [Monday] and definitely do not expect him back Tuesday right now. We thought he was really making some good progress and then, from Friday to [Sunday], there’s been very, very little improvement. It’s a significant injury. It’s an injury that’s going to need rest; it’s going to need time. After the workout, when his leg got swollen again, they shut him down completely from doing anything.”

Donovan talks about Florida’s SEC title chances…after the break!

SIGNIFICANCE OF AN SEC TITLE

Having won his fair share of Southeastern Conference Championships, Donovan said winning a league title would be exciting but would not compare to the sense of accomplishment he already feels with how his team is performing this season.

“I’ve had a chance to experience it myself as a coach here for 15 years. To me, this has been rewarding for me. This is the first time any of these guys in that locker room have won 10 games in the SEC,” he said. “To see this group of kids, where they were two years ago, and to see the growth they’ve made…not so much their individual play, but their approach as to what this is about.

“I’ve never, ever seen, three years ago, a team practice any poorer than I’ve ever seen my entire life in coaching. They have come [miles] now, in terms of understanding the preparation, the work, what goes into winning – all the things maybe you can’t see. I’m really proud of those guys, in terms of the jump they’ve made.”

A SEC title may not hold much significance for Donovan, but his starting backcourt is excited at the opportunity…even though they know that there is along way to go.

“It would mean a lot. It’s definitely a goal of ours,” sophomore guard Kenny Boynton said. “It would be very big for us. It’s definitely our focus now, but we’re taking it one game at a time.”

Junior point guard Erving Walker agrees. “That was one of the main goals for us coming into this year, winning the SEC title,” he said. “Each win we get is moving us one step closer to that goal, but we just have to keep working harder, not get complacent, and get wins.”

QUOTES

Donovan on the remaining schedule: “For us going forward, I still think that it’s wide open. Alabama’s in a great place. Vanderbilt’s playing terrific basketball. Georgia gets a great win. We have to go on the road at Kentucky. Our last four games, it’s always been set up [difficult] like that.”

Donovan on his team hitting eight consecutive free throws to end the game: “We did some good things there.”

Walker on surviving LSU’s comeback run: “We knew they would make some type of run. We just knew we had to make a basket or two and play some good defense.”

Walker on utilizing the press: “It was good. It disrupted them a little bit. They actually got some baskets off of it. Over the course of the whole game, it created a little bit of turnovers and picked the pace of the game up for us.”

5 Comments

  1. Ken says:

    It is great to see how far these kids have come. It seems like last years football recruits could learn from th ese guys. Just because the team won before doesn’t mean you are going to walk in to a higher level and put it in cruise control.

    Whatever happened to Cody Larson? He was getting a lot of playing minutes early in the year, now haven’t heard his named called in months?

  2. jay d says:

    This injury could potentially kill our season…if tyus wasn’t battling his own players for rebounds all season…this might have been avoided..I can’t even count the number of times tyus has dissrupted a fellow gator’s rebound…I’m not directly blaming tyus….although it gives me more reason to dislike him….

Top