No. 10 Florida Gators basketball (1-0) thrashed the Alabama State Hornets (0-1) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media and shared some of his thoughts after the game.
HISTORY / STREAKS / STATS
» Florida has won 22-straight season openers (17 under Donovan) dating back to 1991.
» UF limited Alabama State to just nine first-half points is the fewest allowed to a team in a single half in the shot clock era.
» The Gators’ 50 rebounds were the most the team has grabbed in nearly three years.
» Florida’s 22-0 run blew the game wide open and was part of a dominant first half that put the game completely out of reach for Alabama State.
» The Gators had 18 assists on 28 made baskets.
» Every player that dressed scored, including sophomore walk-on Jacob Kurtz
» Senior guard Kenny Boynton led the way with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Playing point guard, he went 4-for-4 from downtown and added five assists and six rebounds. He also became the eighth player in school history to eclipse the 1,600-point plateau and is climbing the ladder.
» Junior center Patric Young was a great complimentary piece to Boynton. He notched the fifth double-double of his career with 12 points and a game-high (and career-high-tying) 12 rebounds.
» Redshirt senior G Mike Rosario and senior forward Erik Murphy also scored in double figures, posting 14 and 15 points, respectively.
» Junior F Will Yeguete once again proved that he is a do-everything player, adding seven boards and five assists to go along with three points.
INJURY / ABSENCE UPDATES
Junior G/F Casey Prather sat for his second-straight game with a concussion, having suffered one in each of the last two weeks. Donovan said he does not expect him back any time soon and noted that he could miss at least 1-2 more weeks of games.
“Prather, right now from what I’m gathering, is at least another week. I have no expectation of him coming back for both of these games coming up, Wisconsin and Middle Tennessee,” he said. “I think Middle Tennessee would probably be a stretch. He’s still having symptoms right now. He’s still having headaches, those kinds of things. With him having a concussion previously and this second one not being so far removed from the first one, I can just sense from the doctors and the people here on staff medically that this is going to be a process before he gets back on the floor. I would not be surprised if it’s another two weeks.”
Addressing the suspension of junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who has also missed the first two games, Donovan said he has not spoken to him about his undisclosed situation but does not expect him to play this week either. “As of right now, I am not playing him against Wisconsin, unless some of the things that I’m able to find out this week can change. I would say that, right now, as of [Sunday], he will not play against Wisconsin,” he noted.
Though Donovan has neither stated the reason for Wilbekin’s suspension nor a specific length of time that he will remain away from the team, a note on Florida’s official website had the suspension listed as four games. After OGGOA tweeted that note referencing the website, it was removed from the story in which it was posted.
Read the rest of what Donovan had to say…after the break!
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On how Boynton performed at the point: “I’ve said before, I’ve got a lot of confidence with Kenny at the point. I think he understands when to shoot. I think a lot of people think that, because he’s been such a prolific scorer, that if you play him at the point, it’s going to hurt our team, it’s going to inhibit him from scoring or maybe he’ll shoot too much and won’t pass enough, or he’ll then think he’s a point guard, pass too much and not score. I think Kenny understands being a senior now, just the different things that he needs to do, and I’ve got confidence in him. … He had an all-around very good game.”
» On Florida “getting up” for an opponent like Alabama State: “I was concerned coming into this game because I really though the Georgetown game was a very emotional experience for our team. Everything they went through Thursday and Friday, being on the ship, talking to the servicemen and women and someone from Wounded Warriors and wounded soldiers coming in, there were a lot of things that emotionally drained us, and we were not very good [Saturday] in practice at all. When our team plays committed and they play convicted, I feel good. I really felt like going into the Georgetown game, our guys were ready to play. I didn’t know how well we would play, but I knew they were ready to play.”
» On playing at a high level no matter the competition: “If you’re really a great competitor and you love the game of basketball, it should not matter who you are playing against. The fact that you are playing should stimulate you. … It’s very easy to get jacked up on a ship, 3,000 sailors, national TV, this is neat, this is cool. The circumstances and surroundings have an impact on your emotions in what you’re going through and how you’re feeling.”