The No. 14/17 Florida Gators earned their first true road victory last Saturday by defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks 79-65 in Columbia, SC. With sophomore center Patric Young (ankle) out of the starting lineup and hobbled with an injury, head coach Billy Donovan updated his player’s status on Wednesday and spoke about a number of other topics concerning the team.
YOUNG WILL PLAY, STATUS AS STARTER REMAINS DAY-TO-DAY
Donovan’s suspicions were confirmed Wednesday when he said that Young is not dealing with any structural or ligament damage to his ankle but is rather experiencing inflammation as a result of tendinitis. The positives are that he will not miss games nor has to wear a boot or walk around on crutches. However, the negative is that even with a week “off” Young will play but may not be able to start on Saturday against LSU.
“He’s just got some pretty significant inflammation in the area that’s causing the problem with it,” he said. “The best thing for him right now is rest. There’s nothing there for him that is going to keep him out of games or prevent him from playing or anything that we’ve got to do in terms of holding him for a period of time.”
As for starting, how much Young is able to do in practice during the week will determine his status on Saturday. He will continue to get rehab and take medication to reduce the inflammation in the meantime.
“That’s going to be the big thing – what he’s going to be able to do and can do and what he can tolerate and handle,” Donovan said. “If it’s a situation where he’s in the same position he was against South Carolina, it would probably be a decision I would make closer to the game. Certainly want to give him every opportunity to come back.”
MURPHY’S ISSUE “A BLESSING IN DISGUISE”
Faced with a legal issue in the offseason, junior forward Erik Murphy
had a lot of decisions to make about his life and career as a basketball player. Donovan helped him face those questions head-on and said he believes Murphy is better for doing so not only as a player but as a person, too.
“It really forced him to look at the fact that, at this point in time, he’s only got two years left in his career. What kind of career does he want to have? What kind of commitment does he want to make not only to the basketball piece of it but to the academic part of his life? What does he want to do?” Donovan said. “It probably really forced him to do some soul searching in terms of what was important to him.
“Erik, in a lot of ways, was kind of just floating though life. I was able to post him up and pin him up a little bit and kind of get his back against the wall to make a decision on who you want to be as a person, who you want to be as a player, who you want to be as a student.”
Murphy is thankful for Donovan putting him in that position and now understands that the adversity and issues he put on himself over the summer has put him in a better position to succeed in life.
“The offseason issue made me grow up really quick. It definitely helped me. It was a blessing in disguise, I think, to make me grow up mentally and mature,” he said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Donovan on the improvement of redshirt freshman F/C Cody Larson: “I’m gaining more and more confidence and trust in Cody. I’ve put him in the last several games and I think he’s given us some good minutes although they haven’t been a lot of minutes.”
» Donovan on redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario becoming trustworthy off the bench: “It’s all stemmed from practice. He’s really been pretty consistent, pretty responsible, pretty reliable. He’s built up a lot of trust in myself and in his teammates. Earlier in the year, probably some of his limited minutes had to do with a lot of his defensive focus. As that has started to get better, his back became a problem, his foot became a problem. The last two weeks since he’s been back from his ankle, he’s been pretty locked in, pretty solid and has done a good job for us.”
» Donovan on sophomore F Will Yeguete as a rebounder: “I definitely think his instincts play a long part in it. He’s very long-armed and guys that are really good offensive rebounders have a great ability to see a play developing or recognizing when a shot is going up and at times follow the flight of the ball or be able to guess where it’s coming off. The biggest thing in being a good rebounder is you have to rebound out of your area. Anybody can rebound in a telephone booth but can you spread out and cover the backboard a little bit? Will’s got a pretty good ability to cover a wide spread of the glass with his arm length, and he’s a pretty quick jumper.”
» Rosario on working on improving his defense: “One of the most important things is guarding the ball and guarding off the ball, so that’s what I’ve been trying to conquer these last couple of weeks.”
» Rosario on not focusing on defense at his previous stop: “At Rutgers, I had to basically be an offensive threat the whole game in order for us to stay in the game and in order for us to try and win the game. By me being that type of player I had to be at Rutgers, it took a lot of energy out of me. Plus playing 37-40 minutes a game and plus trying to do both ends of the floor, it was a little bit too much for me.”
» Rosario on joining a winning tradition at Florida: “It’s good to be here because there are a lot of teams here that won in a lot of categories – tennis, soccer. When you have a program like that with a lot of athletes and a lot of talent and a lot of pros in one program, it says a lot about the program and the school as well. I wanted to surround myself around that because I wanted to compete around a lot of people that are trying to make it to the next level as well as me.”