11/2: Donovan, players on second exhibition

By Adam Silverstein
November 3, 2010

Florida Gators 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 from his latest media availability in the following post. Additional material from Florida’s starting five can also be found below.

TYUS’ COMMITMENT NEVER IN DOUBT

Though senior forward Alex Tyus nearly transferred after his sophomore season and tested NBA Draft waters last year before ultimately deciding to return to the team, Donovan never questioned his commitment to the University of Florida at any time.

“After his sophomore year a lot of it had to do with the position and where he was having to play. I don’t think it was necessarily any ill feelings towards Florida or myself,” Donovan said. “It was probably this thing that was ingrained into him early on in his career by a lot of different people that he had to play this position in order to become this kind of player. It was really the furthest thing from the truth, and it really was not reality.

“I’ve never really questioned his commitment. Alex is a great kid, he wants to win, I think he has a good relationship with his teammates. It was probably a product of him being younger and getting advice and opinions from some people that maybe really didn’t understand what the reality was of some of the situations.”

MACKLIN NEEDS TO STEP UP AS A LEADER

With so many freshmen set to play significant minutes coming off the bench this season, Donovan has been impressed with the leadership shown by two of the team’s seniors – Tyus and Chandler Parsons. However, when it comes to redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, Donovan sees room for improvement and attributes the gap to Macklin never being in a similar situation before.

“Vernon in particular has got do a better job leading this time of year for us. He’s got to understand the big picture in terms of what we’re trying to do. Vernon has got to prove that he can lead under duress, under adversity, under difficult circumstances,” he said. “I’ve tried to create some adversity in practices for him and for our team to see how they will respond. I don’t think Vernon has responded like I would like to see him respond. He’s done a great job up to this point. He’s played well and he’s worked hard. He himself has got to be able to handle and be a calming force in a lot of ways for our team. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do that.”

Macklin understands what Donovan is looking for and hopes to satisfy his coach’s request. “I’m a vocal person, I just got to not let little things get to me and not have them affect the way I still be vocal in practice,” he said. “If something is not going my way, I still got to be a vocal person.”

WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE

Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who had been impressing Donovan daily in practice, strained his neck in the Gators’ first exhibition game and has not practiced since. He will sit out Florida’s exhibition finale against Georgetown College. “We’re hoping to have him back maybe by the weekend,” Donovan said. “[That’s] maybe a little bit on the positive side, maybe [he’ll practice] a little bit later than that.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on what Tyus brings to the team: “What we really need out of him is that high level of energy where he’s really focused on running the floor, rebounding and chasing balls in the backcourt.”

Donovan on freshman F Will Yeguete: “He’s a loose ball guy. He’s a rebound guy. He’s a high-energy guy. He’s got a good motor. He can defend a lot of different positions. He’s a guy to me that understands he’s probably not going to be a guy who’s a primary scoring option, but he finds different ways to score.”

Donovan on freshman guard Casey Prather: “You can see athletically with how quick he is off the floor, the way he can go in and rebound the ball, I think he’s going to have a really, really good defensive presence for us.”

Parsons on the development of the freshmen: “I’m seeing a lot of improvement. Those guys continue to play hard, ask questions [of] the older guys. Their mindset on defense – that’s the whole goal.”

Parsons on what the team can take from exhibition games: “It really helps with our habits on defense – making sure we’re in the right spots. Executing offense. And it’s also a chance for us to get out there, try different lineups, try different guards with different forwards.”

Parsons on Prather guarding him in practice: “Every day. He’s athletic. He’s long. He’s quick. I like it when he gets in me and makes me better every day. It’s not easy. Going up against him every day really makes me better, and I think him guarding me every day makes him a better defensive player. He’s really quick. He can really defend, too. Just his length and his athleticism, he’s a tough defender.”

Boynton on which freshmen have impressed him: “When practice first started I was kind of surprised at Will, his ability to offensive rebound. In the game I kind of liked Casey Prather’s athletic ability. And Patric Young, his intensity is always great to watch.”

Boynton on Prather: “He has an outside shot and his athletic ability is like at three-guard.”

Boynton on improving as a leader: “Talking more in practice, I talk a lot. I try to take every day very serious and play hard every day and not let one day waste time.”

Boynton on starters playing more Wednesday: “We definitely want to take this game serious because it’s our last chance to have a practice-type game before the season starts.”

4 Comments

  1. armygator says:

    Everything seems to be falliing into place for the UF basketball team to return to the top. I guess we will really know soon enough.

  2. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    I am BEYOND excited for this upcoming Gators basketball season. I think this team is going to be very, very good and is loaded with potential. We’ve got the veteran leadership in Parsons, Macklin, and Tyus, the young vets like Boynton, Walker, and the freshmen loaded with potential in Young, Prather and Scotty W. Destination: Houston!!!!

    Oh and I can’t forget that Brad Beal and Mike Rosario will be suiting up next year….Kentucky doesn’t stand a chance.

    GO GATORS

  3. GATORNATIONSPRESIDENT says:

    I see no reason why this team can’t be undefeated heading into SEC play. Ohio State, Kansas State and Xavier are all tough draws, but they are all winnable games. 15-0 and a Top 5 ranking heading into our game vs. Ole Miss is within reach

  4. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Same here. I am very excited about this team I can’t wait for the regular season to start!

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