12/8: Donovan on free throws, Young’s big game

By Adam Silverstein
December 9, 2011

With No. 12 Florida Gators basketball set to face the Rider Broncos on Friday in Jacksonville, FL, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Thursday to discuss what preparations have been made for his team’s next game.

FIGURING OUT FREE THROW SHOOTING

Despite Florida’s lackluster results from the charity stripe, Donovan said the team works on free throws during every practice. One thing he does is put pressure on players by calling them to the line and forcing them to make consecutive shots or else the entire team has to run suicides. “When Will [Yeguete] goes to the free throw line in practice and misses four in a row, and now they’re on their fifth suicide, I think he probably feels a little pressure and probably feels bad the guys are running,” he explained.

The Gators did succeed in hitting 13 of their last 16 attempts, but Donovan noted that does not mean too much in the grand scheme of things. “Every one is important. You need every one when you’re playing in a game,” he said. “There’s a focus that needs to be there and more of a consistency mentally for those guys when they’re there. That’s a locked in, tunnel vision on what they need to do while they’re at the line.”

Donovan expects Florida to get better at it as they concentrate on it more but was still dumbfounded to recount how the team started off their game against Arizona. “Yeah, there will be some free throw shooting today. There definitely will be. I’ve never seen 2-for-14 – that’s the most unheard of. We’re a good shooting team; we should be a much better free throw shooting team,” he said.

YOUNG BEGINNING TO BREAK OUT
[EXPAND Click to expand and read the remainder of this post.]With an efficient shooting night, a career-high 25 points and double-digit rebounds to boot, sophomore center Patric Young ensured that his name was heard on Wednesday. What Donovan cares most about is that Young comes back down to earth and puts the great performance behind him before heading home to Jacksonville to take on Rider.

“This is a great opportunity really for Patric to learn,” he said. “One of the hardest things with players when they’re young is to be able to let go of when something really good happens. A lot of times when you lose or you have a bad game, you want to get past it and you want to get on to the next thing. […] He’s got to go into the game and play the game with an understanding that last night’s over with and be able to move to the next game.”

Young, who joked that he has “the whole arena…reserved” for his friends and family, said it has been tough to put the performance behind him because “every five minutes somebody reminds me.”

“I had like 50 something messages on my phone telling me good job [Wednesday],” Young said. “ I guess you could view it as a breakthrough game. It was almost double my former career-high. I had an opportunity to showcase what I can really do and what I’m capable of doing for the team. Whenever my number is called again, hopefully it’ll be sometime along the lines of this season, hopefully I can do the same thing.”

Even so, he is confident that by game time on Friday he will be able to focus on the contest at hand no matter how well he did previously or who is in the crowd.

“I’m just going to think of it as any other game – go out there and do the things I can control like run the floor, rebound and finish when the ball comes to me,” he said.

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on who will start at the four: “Right now we’re staying with Will until I think Erik can get his legs under him a little bit and get some more minutes under his belt. Will’s obviously played well and given us a great boost in Erik’s absence. From an offensive standpoint, the way Erik can stretch the floor and the way he can shoot the ball, we certainly need to get him back in the rotation and get him back playing.”

» Donovan on if the team is closer to finding an identity: “There’s a cohesiveness, a chemistry, a bond on the court that needs to transpire and take place. I always think that’s a work in progress. When you play the schedule we’ve played, playing on the road at Ohio State and Syracuse then playing last night against Arizona and playing Jacksonville who beat us the year before, those things kind of get themselves resolved. When you’re in a tight game like that, possession become important, playing together becomes important, utilizing each other becomes important. That, for us, is a work in progress.”

» Donovan on if freshman Jacoby Brissett has contacted him about joining the team: “No, I have not spoken to him.”

» Donovan on why Florida fouled up three against Arizona and what he thought of the official’s call in the act of shooting: “[Casey Prather] didn’t make the decision. I made the decision to foul. He did exactly what we wanted to do. […] I really felt on the side on an inbounds play they were going to have to throw the ball to somebody. I felt like we could matchup and get there. Exactly what he did was what we wanted to happen. I just felt like he fouled him before [he took tried to take the shot]. That’s just my opinion; obviously it was a different call. I felt good about what we did there. […] I’ve never seen a guy start his act of shooting with his back to the basket. That’s not in the act of shooting. I thought Solomon Hill did a fabulous job selling it – did a great job. Clearly I don’t know if it was the right call.”

» Donovan on what redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario needs to do to improve on defense: “Foot speed-wise he’s [not] as gifted as Scottie [Wilbekin] or Erving [Walker] or Kenny [Boynton], so to speak. He has the ability and potential to be a very good defender because he’s very smart. He’s intelligent. His problem is that he gets too loose and gets too relaxed sometimes and then all of a sudden his man moves or breaks or comes off a screen and he’s like a step late. He needs to be better sniffing out what’s getting ready to happen instead of reacting to what’s happened – almost anticipating what’s going to happen. His ability to guard on the dribble has got to get better; he’s got to do a better job doing that for us.”

» Young on the team’s free throw shooting: “It’s crazy because we’re actually a good free throw shooting team when it comes to practicing. When it matters and it comes to the game, we’re just coming up short. Guys are going to put in work because they don’t want to leave those points up on the board.”

» Young on SportsCenter not covering the Gators enough: “I feel like SportsCenter doesn’t give us any love. They don’t’ show our highlights. They don’t. They don’t. I could watch it for two hours, and they would not show Florida basketball highlights at all. I’m serious. You have to go on to their website to find it and look it up. Not on TV though.”

» Young on why Yeguete is so good: “He has a [good] mindset, long arms, his size being 6’7” he’s able to move his feet and guard anybody in front of him. He can guard 1-5 which is really rare with any player nowadays, especially with a big strong poster. He’s able to keep guys in front of him and hold his own.”[/EXPAND]

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