A four-year member of the Florida Gators basketball program under head coach Billy Donovan, former forward Adam Allen – a four-star recruit coming out of Milton High School – was forced to retire due to multiple knee surgeries. No longer with the team, he has joined OGGOA as a basketball columnist and will provide his unique perspective on the team throughout the 2011-12 season.
Two games into the young season, the No.7/8 Florida Gators have shown plenty of promise but had some of their weaknesses exposed on Tuesday.
Florida rolled over Jackson State in the opener but followed that up with a tough 81-74 road loss to No. 3 Ohio State. Going on the road this early in the season to face a top-five opponent will prove to be a great learning experience for the young Gators, just as it has been for previous teams under head coach Billy Donovan.
Playing against such a talented team in a hostile environment will always reveal where a squad is while simultaneously showing some of its flaws. Visiting Ohio State as a freshmen in 2007, I can attest to how tough it is to play in Columbus, OH. The hope now is that Florida can use this loss as a true learning experience and move forward with the rest of their season.
Read the rest of this edition of Allen’s Alley…after the break!
The number one thing I look for the Gators to try to improve in is taking care of the ball. Every time UF turns the ball over, it kills both offensive rhythm and in-game momentum while simultaneously giving the opponent a chance to score.
In big games it’s easy for players to lose sight of the offensive game plan and try to do things they wouldn’t normally do, such as forcing shots or making risky passes, both of which happened often at OSU.
Florida looked great on offense at times throughout the game with good spacing and ball movement as well as solid inside-out play. Erik Murphy also proved that the pick and pop could pose a real threat to opposing teams. Good things happened every time the Gators showed patience on offense, moved the ball around and made the right play.
Donovan will likely be instilling in them the mindset of passing first and not settling for the first somewhat open shot. Defensively, Florida must contain and guard pick-and-rolls better. Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft exposed a few cracks in the perimeter defense by getting into the paint consistently, though UF performed well on the interior.
- Offensive spacing
- Knocking down good looks
- Showing patience when moving the ball around
- Rebounding: The frontcourt is battling and guards are doing a good job helping.
- Scoring in bunches
- Playing hard from start-to-finish
- Turnovers: Florida must take care of the ball and prioritize shot selection. The coaches will make this a priority by emphasizing the mistakes made in the film sessions and on the practice court.
- Free throws: Eight missed opportunities against Ohio State means UF will undoubtedly be getting more shots up in practice and on their own personal time. It’s called the charity stripe for a reason.
- Guarding penetration: Craft pretty much did what he wanted out there and made a lot of plays for OSU. The guards will be challenged to get better at containing the dribble and closing down space on pick-and-rolls.