Florida-North Florida preview; Gators wrap-up

By Adam Silverstein
November 8, 2013

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 11,548]
Time: 3:00 p.m. EST

(8) FLORIDA GATORS NORTH FLORIDA OSPREYS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Matthew Driscoll
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Sun
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

TV: Sun Sports (Larry Vettel, Mark Wise) [Channel Finder]
SiriusXM: 93/199 | Radio: Gator Radio Network [Affiliates]
Online Video: ESPN3.com [Blackout Map] | Mobile Video: None
Live Updates: @OnlyGators on Twitter

Odds: OFF

HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS

» Florida is 3-0 all-time against North Florida.
» The Gators are 17-0 under Donovan in season openers and have won 22-straight dating back to 1991.
» UF is hoping to return to the Final Four for the first time since 2006-07. Florida has been eliminated in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament in three-straight seasons (2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13.
» The Gators have won 16-straight games in the O’Dome dating back to Feb. 21, 2012. UF went undefeated at home (15-0) during the 2012-13 season).
» Donovan (415) enters the season 33 wins behind Dale Brown (448) for second-most in SEC history. He is currently the longest-tenured head coach in the league.
» Kasey Hill will become the first Florida freshman to start at point guard since Nick Calathes and Jai Lucas in 2007.
» The Gators looking to win at least 20 games in a season for the 16th-straight year.

THE COUNTDOWN

Part I (Nos. 42-12) | Part II (Nos. 10-0)

ALL-SEC

Seniors center Patric Young and point guard Scottie Wilbekin were named by league coaches to the 2013 Preseason All-SEC Team on Friday. Young received a first-team nod, while Wilbekin was chosen for the second team. Both players were selected to the second team by the media earlier this offseason.


UNPUBLISHED OFFSEASON QUOTES

» Redshirt junior center Damontre Harris on playing with Young in the post: “It’s most definitely an advantage. Pat is one of the most aggressive players that I’ve seen by far in college basketball. He’s a great talent, so I think he and I together will be a force for the most part. Me, blocking shots, him grabbing a rebound, get position in the post; I think that will work out really well.”

» Hill on the toughest part of playing college basketball: “It’s just been really difficult as far as, defensive-wise, learning new things. A lot of stuff has been thrown at me. That’s been the most difficult part.”

» Hill on redshirt sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith: “I never knew he could shoot as good as he could, as good as he’s been shooting. And he crashes the boards really hard. He’s always around the rim getting tip back sand stuff like that.”

» Hill on Wilbekin and his mentorship: “He’s a very good defender. We guard each other every day. But I look up to him and whenever I need help, I ask him. He’s one of the best defenders in the SEC.”

» Senior F Casey Prather on how junior guard Eli Carter is fitting in: “Well, first of all, he’s just been great going through the injury process. I know that’s hard for him. But he just has a steady head and has been doing a good job immersing himself into the team.”

» Prather on Carter’s mindset: “I know it’s kind of hard for him. But at the same time he has to realize that he has to go through the process as well as everyone else has to go through the process. It’s just a different journey. He’ll have to stay levelheaded and stay mindful of what’s going on.”

» Young on what he’s learned over his first three years: “The way our culture in society is now, we look at failure as like the end of all things. But failure, I consider failure being when you give up. Even though we’ve fallen short three years in a row, I think each one has hardened us as men, sharpened us. Because now we know, going into our last year, in those big-time games we have to find a way. We have to be more connected. In those situations where we’re going against a team in the Elite Eight – or the SEC Tournament – we can’t take that opportunity for granted.”

» Young on the team’s chemistry with so many new faces: “What’s crazy about our team is we have four new players – Eli Carter, Damontre Harris, Dorian Finney-Smith and Kasey Hill, and we’ve just hugged up on those guys, loved them and accepted them as brothers [as] if they’ve been here three years already. I think we have a great family and chemistry. We know each other really well. The chemistry is high. We expect each other to push themselves, to push each other. We got nothing to do but look up right now.”

» Young on why he dropped nearly 15 pounds: “I played at about 255 last year and I am down to about 242. Our strength coach, Preston Green, he was really adamant on me losing some weight, wanted to help alleviate some knee pain, bumps and bruises, wanted me to be able to run faster and jump higher, and stay on the court for a long period of time. First three games of the season, I might have to be playing 38 minutes because we are down to seven guys due to injuries and illnesses right now.”

» Young on a freshman (Kentucky’s Julius Randle) being picked as SEC Player of the Year by the media: “I am not surprised, coming out of high school, there is all the hype and what-not, it doesn’t really mean too much. The one that really counts is the one at the end of the year. This guy has not gone through any adversity or played a single minute yet, so we will see how things turn out.”

» Young on Kentucky being favorites to win the league: “I hope they think they can just walk on the court and they’re going to beat everybody. I hope that’s what they think. As soon as they play a real top team, they’re going to see it’s not just a walk in the park. One and done is not for everybody.”

» Young on being coached by a future Hall of Famer in Donovan: “It’s crazy because he’s just my coach. I don’t look at him as a Hall of Famer or one of the greatest of all time. He’s just ‘Coach D’ to me. He’s just a phone call away. He really is truly invested in each one of his guys whether it’s staff, a strength coach, managers, players. He’s truly genuine and invested in each one of us to help us get to where we want to be one day. And if we truly work for it, he’s going to push us to get there.”

» Donovan on passing Adolph Rupp in career NCAA Tournament wins last season: “I don’t know, if I did that, I wasn’t even aware of that. It must mean that Kentucky must have been in a different league or the NCAA Tournament wasn’t around when he was coaching because he certainly won a lot of games. But I feel very fortunate that I could be at one place for as long as I have. I wasn’t even aware of what you just mentioned. It’s certainly humbling anytime your name gets mentioned with Adolph Rupp — just being at Kentucky for five years like I was and understanding what he did for that program and with the program was really remarkable.”

Comments are closed.

Top