SIX BITS: Miller, bowl, Tebow, volleyball, soccer

1 » Even though his recent hernia surgery will keep him out for up to two months, Miami Heat forward Mike Miller said Tuesday that he is “pretty secure” in his future with the team. Miller, who has four years remaining on his contract with the Heat, is thinking about getting healthy much more than he is about possibly being waived. “I’ve been in this league now 12 years,” he told the Associated Press. “I’ve been traded 675 times. First time I’ve been amnestied, but you get used to it. You do what you can. I’ve always done the same things. I prepare myself to play every year. Whether it’s where I’m at or it’s a different place, that’s how I’ve always looked at it. Put yourself in the best position to succeed when you’re there.”

2 » The gift package for the 2012 Gator Bowl was announced this week and the Florida Gators will each get five different items when they travel to Jacksonville, FL in the coming weeks. Every player will receive a Fossil watch, Gator Gear performance headwear, rolling luggage bag, Jostens ring and commemorative football. Many other packages feature electronics like video game systems, iPods and televisions or gift certificates so players can pick out whatever they want.

3 » A fake movie trailer showcasing Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow‘s progression from college star to doubted professional to successful signal caller has been making the rounds recently. You can check it out below:

4 » Florida senior setter/right side Kelly Murphy was featured in a story by ESPNW.com’s Mick Elliott Wednesday about her going into a special zone while on the court no matter how stressful the situation. Since Murphy joined the Gators, the team is 107-17 and has won two SEC Championships while making it to the NCAA Tournament all four years. Murphy has one more chance to win the big one with Florida, something she’s striving to do as the team begins Sweet 16 action on Friday. “I came here because I wanted to win a national championship,” she said. “To finally do that, that would mean everything. That’s the one goal that I’ve always wanted.” Head coach Mary Wise also praised her ability both as a player and leader. “A unique talent,” Wise said. “She has a picture-perfect arm swing coming from a 6-foot-2 left-hander. She has great court vision and great arm speed. That by itself would be enough to make her a special talent. But then she has one of the best deliveries and touches on the ball…of any setter in the college game. She makes it look effortless.” No matter how the season ends, Murphy will always be remembered as one of the best volleyball players ever to wear the orange and blue.

5 » Murphy was one of two Gators – the other being senior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel – to earn a spot on the 2011 AVCA Division I South Region Team, the organization announced Tuesday. Two of the best players ever to suit up for Florida, Murphy and Jaeckel are now automatically eligible to be named AVCA All-Americans due to their selections to the regional team.

6 » Three Gators soccer players were listed on the 2011 NSCAA All-South Region team on Thursday. Juniors midfielder Erika Tymrak and defender Kathryn Williamson were named to the first team, while junior MF Holly King earned second-team recognition. Tymrak and Williamson were also given All-SEC first team nods, while King was placed on the second team.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Donovan expects more from Walker and Boynton

Every coach knows that their best players will go on shooting slumps from time to time. Unfortunately for the Florida Gators, that happened in a big way Wednesday night as senior point guard Erving Walker and junior guard Kenny Boynton combined to make just five shots on 27 attempts from the field and 2-of-15 three-pointers.

However, when head coach Billy Donovan expressed his disappointment in the duo after the game, he was not focused on their percentages but rather how the pair played the game from a mental standpoint.

“Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker tried to take over the game and didn’t try to take it over in the right fashion,” he explained. “Erving Walker should have taken over the game with his passing. As a senior in college, he should not go 3-for-16 from the field. He shouldn’t go 1-for-9 from the three-point line. He’s got to take over the game from different aspects.

“Kenny had a couple tough shots where his first shot of the game was blocked. You got to let the game just kind of happen and come to you and just play based on what the defense is giving you at that point in time.”

While Walker and Boynton were struggling, freshman G Bradley Beal took a different approach. His shot also was not falling early, so he helped facilitate and began taking the ball to the hoop for higher percentage shots. He finished 4-of-9 with as many points as Boynton (nine) along with six rebounds and received some praise from Donovan.

“Brad, I thought, had a great game because he played within himself,” he said.

Donovan does not believe his two veteran guards have developed the same mindset that one of the youngest players on the court joined the team with from day one. “With Kenny and Erving, they’re so competitive. They want to win so bad that they almost say, ‘I want control of this right now, I’m going to take control,’ instead of letting things just happen.”

He would have preferred that the duo concentrate on getting the ball inside to sophomore center Patric Young, who was an efficient 12-of-15 for a career-high 25 points but could have scored more had there been a concentration on feeding him.

In order to illustrate his point, Donovan brought up his two national championship teams and explained how their ability to understand defensive mindsets and adjust to them allowed the team to succeed on another level.

“I know we use the 2006 and 2007 teams a lot as reference points, but the one thing I always remember with those guys is that they would laugh and joke. ‘What’s it going to be today? What are they taking away today? Who are they trying to take away today? Are they going to try to take away [Lee] Humphrey today? They going to try to take away [Joakim] Noah or [Al] Horford? Who are they going to try to take away? Are they going to try to take away [Corey] Brewer? What are they going to take away today?’

“They would laugh about it and they had an incredible awareness of going into a game playing with zero intention other than what’s going on. This was a game where Patric Young should have taken 40 shots in the game. Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton needed to do a better job of reading what was going on inside the game. Their shooting percentage from the field, although their intentions of wanting to win the game and feeling like they needed to do something [were good], we should have just played out of Patric Young the whole entire night. He had 25 points; he should have had 45 points. We should have got the ball to him much more than we did. There’s got to be a better understanding.

“Like I’ve told those guys, when teams watch film of you playing, they say, ‘Arizona just tired to take away the three-point line and play one-on-one with Patric Young and the guy scored 35 points. We can’t do that.’ The beauty of that team in 2006 and 2007 – it was pick your poison. What are you going to try to do? Who are you going to try to take out of the game? Because you can’t guard it all. We’ve got to have an understanding of what’s going on and then try to take advantage of what’s open. I thought we did a really poor job of that.”

What Walker and Boynton did do was hit some clutch free throws down the stretch when the Gators needed them the most. The duo combined for 11 of Florida’s 15 makes from the line even though the team shot just 47 percent from the charity stripe.

“I don’t even have an answer for that. It was ridiculous. We have good shooters, and we hit them in practice. I don’t know,” Walker said after the contest.

Though Donovan was less concerned about their shooting and more about their recognition, it is not likely that Florida’s guards will shoot that poorly from the field on a regular basis. However, when they do, the way in which Walker and Boynton respond going forward may be indicative of how far the Gators can go this season.

Tags: , , , ,

12/7: Florida vs. Arizona post-game notes

The No. 12 Florida Gators took down the Arizona Wildcats 78-72 in overtime Wednesday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and the players provided their thoughts on the win.

FOCUSING ON SOME POSITIVES

Before diving into all of the things that the Gators did wrong Wednesday, Donovan made it a point to mention how proud he was of the team not getting down on itself for shooting poorly and instead sticking together and pulling through in the end.

“Our guys really showed resiliency. Up three with five seconds to go, our guys probably could have come to the huddle disappointed and disenchanted that the game is going to overtime feeling like they had it. We showed some resiliency and some fight,” he said.

“I was pretty annoyed going into the overtime. Our guys kept a pretty good focus and they battled and they fought and they found a way to win the game in overtime. It wasn’t one of our better games. I didn’t feel like we played very intelligently. Arizona had a lot to do with that. They were certainly well-prepared and they did a great job. The things that I thought would cause us some problems in the game really did cause us some problems. Our guys found a way to hang in there and make some plays and finally make a few free throws to win the game.”

CHARITY STRIPE NOT SO CHARITABLE

There is only one way to say it: Florida was awful from the free throw line Wednesday. The Gators opened the contest 0-7 from the line and went 1-9 in the first half. Then stuck at 2-14 with just 2:59 left in regulation, Florida turned it on and hit 5-6 to close the second half and 8-10 in overtime. The Gators hit 13 of their finaly 16 attempts (thanks mostly to senior point guard Erving Walker) but still shot just 47 percent in the game.

“I’ve never ever seen in my life 2-for-14 at one point from the free throw line. I could go out right now and make 2-for-14 left handed. Two-for-14? Everybody in this room could make 2-for-14,” Donovan said emphatically. “I thought we drained ourselves where we had some really good possessions in the first half that led to us getting fouls. We had them in foul trouble in the first half. We got to the bonus very early in the first half, and we just completely killed runs and momentum with our free throw shooting.

“It’s not one guy. It’s our whole team, and we have to do a better job. In overtime and coming down the stretch we did do a better job making free throws. The two biggest things in the game that I look at in the stat sheet is Walker and [Kenny Boynton – what they were from the field – and our free throw shooting. Those two things were somewhat disappointing.”

More on Walker and Boynton’s shooting is coming from OGGOA on Thursday.

YEGUETE THE WORM

Aside from sophomore center Patric Young – who scored a career-high 25 points on an efficient 12-of-15 shooting with 10 rebounds and only three fouls in 38 minutes – sophomore forward Will Yeguete was the star of the show Wednesday. In addition to hitting all three of his shots, Yeguete grabbed eight rebounds (three offensive) and four steals; however that stat line barely equates to his impact in the game.

Yeguete was all over the place Wednesday, helping create turnovers and rebounding opportunities, playing great defense and often being in the right place at the right time on loose balls. Donovan noticed that and offered up some great praise.

“He drives me nuts from the free throw line, he really does, but the thing about him is all of those intangible things, I really do think he is like Dennis Rodman on a smaller scale. He just rebounds. He’s like The Worm. He just comes up with plays, deflections, steals, hands on balls, offensive rebounds, [keeping] stuff alive. He gives incredible effort,” he said.

“All of those things that people look at as being very unglamorous, he makes them pretty glamorous by the way he approaches it and attacks. He’s the one guy on our team that, when you see him do those things, you can clearly say, ‘Wow, that’s what coaches love. They love those guys.’ Fans love guys and appreciate guys that give that kind of effort and do all the little things. He’s got a great ability to do that. He’s really special in that area.”

Yeguete’s teammates also appreciate him. “That’s my best friend and my roommate as well,” Young said after the game. “Just to find him it is that kind of bond you just can’t really describe. Whoever he’s guarding, he’s going to give them hell. If anybody crosses over in front of him, he’s going to get his hand on it.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on why he didn’t play redshirt junior G Mike Rosario in the second half: “I thought Mike played really good. He was really locked in; he was focused. We got down, and I really tried to keep defense out there with [Casey] Prather in the second half, Yeguete in the second half and Scottie Wilbekin. I thought we really needed to get defensive stops. With Arizona’s speed and quickness son the floor there in the second half, Mike was out there but you could tell he was a step behind on some plays. We were getting put into some rotations. If it wasn’t for Mike in that first half, we probably could have been down 10-12 points going into the half. I think he really responded well from the Syracuse game.”

» Walker on the game: “Coach just said keep playing. It’s a 40-minute game. Teams make runs, and that’s a good team we played. For us to come out and win after the way we played today – not that we played bad. Pat played great for us. He picked up the slack for everybody. For us to come out with a win, that’s great for us tonight.”

» Walker on how he thinks the team played: “We feel like we got away with one. Coach D told us great game. We were resilient and he was proud of us. He told us there were nights the ball just won’t go in the hole and we have to defend and rebound to still win games. Our crowd tonight helped us out a lot tonight being at home. With the way we shot the ball, it was huge for us. […] We got kind of lucky tonight.”

» Young on the team’s mindset in overtime: “Everyone was like, ‘Man, that was crazy he called that.’ But you got to keep playing. We say it’s a 40-minute game, but today it was a 45-minute game. We had to keep our mindset that we were going to play hard defensively, we were going to take care of the ball and we were going to knock down free throws. We didn’t shoot very good free throws today, but in the clutch we knocked them down and in overtime.”

» Freshman G Bradley Beal on the foul with five seconds left: “Nobody agreed with the call but you have to turn around and start focusing on overtime. You have to stay composed and just play basketball.”

» Beal on the Rowdy Reptiles: “The crowd was pretty hype – it was the sixth man for us.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

No. 12 Florida escapes Arizona 78-72 in overtime

It took five minutes longer than they probably hoped, but the No. 12 Florida Gators (6-2) came away from the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday evening with a 78-72 victory over the Arizona Wildcats (6-3) in overtime.

Florida sophomore center Patric Young posted his third double-double of the season, scoring a career-high 25 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbing 10 rebounds (six offensive). Gators senior point guard Erving Walker, who struggled from the floor in regulation, scored seven points in overtime and finished with 14 to go along with five assists and five turnovers.

Arizona jumped ahead to an early lead but was also sloppy at the start of the game, turning the ball over four times in the first four minutes of the contest. Junior forward Erik Murphy and redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario checked in for the first time less than five minutes into the game and each hit a three-pointer as part of a 12-2 run that gave Florida a 14-7 advantage and its first lead of the game.

Rosario wound up going 3-for-5 from downtown for 10 points in the first half, and the Gators were supported early on by Young, who scored 12 of the team’s first 20 points. However, the Wildcats ended the half on a 6-0 run – capped by a buzzer-beating floater by G/F Kevin Parrom – and took a one-point lead into halftime.

Tied at 41 with 15 minutes to play, Arizona used an 11-4 run to take a 52-46 lead and eventually jumped ahead seven points. Florida struggled shooting again in the second half but eventually put together a 14-4 run of their own to jump ahead 66-63 with just eight seconds remaining.

After bringing the ball across the court, the Wildcats called timeout inbounded it to F Solomon Hill, who was accidentally fouled by sophomore G/F Casey Prather. Hill was hit with his back to the basket beyond the arc, but the referees believed he was in the act of shooting and rewarded Arizona with an opportunity to tie the game on three foul shots.

Hill hit all three of his attempts to knot it at 66, and a half court three-pointer by Walker clanged off the backboard at the end of regulation.

Walker scored first for the Gators in overtime and hit five three throws down the stretch to help solidify a win for Florida. Three Wildcats (including Hill) fouled out in the extra period, and the Gators never trailed once in overtime.

Florida opened the contest 0-for-7 from the line and went just 1-for-9 in the first half. The Gators were only 2-of-14 from the charity stripe with 2:59 to play in regulation but hit 5-of-6 to close the second half and 8-of-10 in overtime to finish the game by connecting on 13 of their final 16 attempts.

Arizona was efficient from the line all evening (11-of-15) and cut down on their turnovers, coughing the ball up just four times in the second half after giving Florida 10 extra chances in the first 20 minutes.

Aside from Young, who shot 80 percent from the field, the Gators made just 30 percent of their attempts from the floor. UF shot 25.9 percent from downtown, outrebounded the UA 40-31 (17-7) and only turned the ball over 11 times.

Though it may not show up on the stat sheet, sophomore F Will Yeguete was a presence for Florida throughout the game, grabbing eight boards (three offensive) and four steals while scoring seven points on 3-for-3 shooting. He was involved in numerous other rebounds and turnover situations.

Gators junior G Kenny Boynton had his worst shooting performance of the season, hitting just 2-of-11 shots (1-for-6 from downtown) for nine points. Freshman G Bradley Beal also scored nine points, adding six rebounds and two assists.

UF will travel to Jacksonville, FL on Friday for a neutral site contest against Rider. The game will air live on Comcast Sports South (check your local listings).

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

No. 12 Florida Gators vs. Arizona Wildcats

Location: Stephen C. O’Connell Center – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 12,000]
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
SiriusXM: 91
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(12) FLORIDA GATORS ARIZONA WILDCATS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Sean Miller
Record: 5-2 Record: 6-2
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Pac-12
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -11; O/U 145

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators before the big game? No problem. OGGOA has been here all season long compiling a ton of information so you can do your homework on the team before its next exam Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Allen’s Alley: Previewing the 2011-12 Gators | The Countdown: 35-23, 15-1

Donovan on Rosario and Arizona | Room for improvement | Syracuse post-game

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida and Arizona are tied 1-1 in the all-time series with both contests played on neutral courts. Wednesday’s game is the beginning of a home-and-home series between the two schools as UF will play at UA next season.
» The Gators are 7-2 under Donovan against Pac-12 teams; the Wildcats are the first men’s basketball team from their conference to ever play at the O’Dome.
» Florida has won seven consecutive games against teams in the Pac-12.
» Arizona is 13-23 all-time against SEC teams.
» The Gators have made a three in 653 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» UF has connected on 10 or more treys in all six of seven games this season, failing to do so only on the road against Syracuse. Hitting double-digit threes in six-straight games is the longest streak under Donovan.
» Florida has outrebounded six of seven opponents this season.
» The Gators are ranked No. 4 in scoring offense (87.6 points), No. 11 in scoring margin (21.3 points), No. 11 in assists (17.9), No. 15 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.40) and No. 2 in three-pointers (11.6 per game) nationally as of Dec. 4. Florida is also 77th in turnovers (12.7) and 284th in free throw shooting (62.1 percent).
» UF has the second-best winning percentage against ranked opponents (.546) among SEC teams dating back to 1999-2000.
» Arizona upset No. 1 overall seed Duke in the Elite Eight of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
» The Gators are the first ranked opponent the Wildcats have played this season.
» Arizona last played in the state of Florida in March 2009.

LAST TIME OUT

Florida and Arizona last met in on Nov. 28, 2003 at the MassMutual Classic in Springfield, MA with both teams ranked in the top 10. The Gators defeated the Wildcats 78-77 behind 27 points from Matt Walsh, who went 5-for-8 from downtown (all in the second half). David Lee posted a double-double, Anthony Roberson registered 15 points and Bonell Colas hit a game-winning layup with 7.3 seconds left thanks to a deft inbounds pass by Christian Drejer. UA was led by Chris Rogers (career-high 17 points) and Channing Frye (double-double).

INJURY/ABSENCE REPORT

FLORIDA
» Active: Junior forward Erik Murphy (knee)

ARIZONA
» Inactive: Freshman guard Josiah Turner (suspension)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Senior point guard Erving Walker (#11)…who is the longest tenured player on the team having appeared in 114 consecutive games with 53-straight starts. A shoot-first player much of his career, Walker has been tasked with distributing the ball and managing the game this year. He is the SEC’s active leader in minutes (3,398) and treys (231) but also ranks second in points (1,429), assists (414) and steals (132) as well as third in free throws (350). Walker is No. 6 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 8 in free throws made, No. 5 in threes made and No. 4 in treys attempted (604).
» Junior guard Kenny Boynton (#1)…who is a dynamic scorer and just the second starter returning from a year ago. Boynton is working on his consistency this season and is already shooting better than he has throughout his career (51.1 percent from the field and 47.3 percent from downtown). He is the best defender on the Gators and is often put on the opponent’s best backcourt playmaker. Boynton currently ranks fifth in the SEC among active players in points (1,134) and fourth in three-pointers (178).
» Freshman G Bradley Beal (#23)…who is starting at the three for Florida fresh out of high school. Beal was the 2011 Gatorade National Player of the Year, one of the top five players in the country, and is arguably the most talented player to sign with the Gators since Donovan took over. He is averaging 15.6 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 69.4 percent from the line (second best on the team).
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joins the starting lineup this year after being the primary frontcourt reserve as a freshman. Young saw action in all 37 games as a freshman, averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in limited action. He opened the season with consecutive double-doubles and is posting averages of 9.6 points, 7.3 boards and 1.7 blocks per game.
» Redshirt junior G Mike Rosario (#3)…who is finally playing for Florida after transferring out of Rutgers and sitting out the 2010-11 season. Rosario scored more than 1,000 points in two seasons with his former team and averaged 16.7 points per game during his sophomore year. He is the Gators’ de facto sixth man and is seeing 18.1 minutes of court time each game, averaging 10.6 points while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and 45.9 percent from beyond the arc.

ARIZONA
» F Solomon Hill (#44)…who is the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week due to averaging a team-high 12.4 points per game and second-best 7.8 rebounds while shooting 48.4 percent. Hill has posted double-digit points in six-straight games.
» F Jesse Perry (#33)…who is averaging 31.1 minutes per game and has grabbed 73 rebounds on the season with 20 coming on the offensive glass. He’s blocked two shots in three games this season and has only fouled out of one game.
» G Kyle Fogg (#21)…who is third on the team in minutes (29.0) but second in scoring with 11 points per game. Fogg hits 41.4 percent of his threes and shoots an efficient 81.3 percent from the line.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Dunlap qualifies, Cosby on Tebow, Donovan’s adjustments, Reynolds commits

1 » Former Florida Gators golfer Scott Dunlap earned his PGA Tour card on Monday by finishing Qualifying School tied for 18th with a final score of -10 (422). Dunlap, 48, has earned $2.7 million playing in 184 events in his PGA career. He’s made 96 cuts, finished in the top 25 a total of 33 times, finished in the top 10 on 13 occasions and has never finished an event higher than third place (three times).

2 » Comedian Billy Cosby, who will be in Denver, CO for a comedy show on New Year’s Eve, released a YouTube message Monday promoting the event while complementing the Denver Broncos and quarterback Tim Tebow. You can check it out below:

3 » Florida basketball is getting it done from long range so far this season, and junior guard Kenny Boynton is leading the way. However, according to Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner, the Gators may not be able to continue with this philosophy throughout the remainder of the season. “Gone, too, appears to be the offensive approach from last season, where Florida took almost 70 percent of its field goal attempts from two-point range,” he writes. “Now with five shooters in their primary seven-man rotation, the Gators have thus far been one of the nation’s most three-point-dependent teams, taking 43.5 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Of their top six shot-takers, only [Patric] Young has taken fewer threes than twos. Everyone else is letting it fly.”

He continues, “Seven games into a campaign is far too early to draw any concrete conclusions about a team and its style of play, but what Florida has served up thus far — whether against Stetson or Syracuse — seems like a short-term salve rather than season-long salvation. The Gators certainly have the talent to make it to New Orleans, but they’re probably going to have to find a slightly different route by which to get there.”

4 » Florida track and field added another dynamic athlete this week as sprinter Robin Reynolds has committed to play for the Gators beginning next season. Reynolds, who hopes to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics, currently runs for Miami Jackson Senior High School and “owns the most state championships of any Miami-Dade County female track and field athlete [of] all-time,” the Miami Herald reports. Both of Reynolds’s parents went to Florida, and she chose to follow in their footsteps. “I wanted to go somewhere close enough to them, but still far enough to go away to school,” she said. “I grew up a Gator fan, and I bleed orange and blue. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to develop at the next level and I felt [Florida] gave me the best chance of doing that.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

12/5: Donovan on Murphy, Rosario, Arizona

With No. 12 Florida Gators basketball set to host the Arizona Wildcats on Wednesday, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Monday to discuss what preparations have been made for his team’s next game.

MURPHY READY TO RETURN

After missing three games due to a bruise in his knee, junior forward Erik Murphy will return to the court on Wednesday against Arizona. “He’s going to play. Right now he’s been cleared. He worked out yesterday on his own; he did some running. He’ll probably go through about half the contact right now,” Donovan said. “Provided the next two days go as planned with him physically, he should be able to play. He feels good right now. We’ll have him out there today, and I would anticipate right now the expectation level is that he’s going to play in the game.”

Though he may be able to play, it is unknown whether or not Murphy will get the start. Donovan could decide to use him sparingly if he’s not 100 percent. Either way, he was cautious to say that things would have gone differently on Friday if Murphy had been available to play at Syracuse.

“There was a lot of talk that he would have helped us against Syracuse in the zone because he’s a guy who can step out and shoot. I don’t know if he would have or would not have. Who knows? He didn’t play in the game. He could have been in the game and played great or been in the game and played not well. We went into the game with what we had,” he said.

“There’s no question that Erik is a big part of our team. He’s a different kind of player because he does shoot the basketball and he does give us some length and he allows us to play a little bit of a bigger lineup…but when a guy is injured you kind of got to go with what you’ve got. That’s what we had at that point in time. He just wasn’t available to play. There’s no question that, when you have a player like Erik available, it does add a different dimension to our team. That’s not to sit there and say we would have beat Syracuse with him. He would have had to gone out there and performed and played well and given us something a little bit differently than what we had in the game.”

ROSARIO MUST GET HIS HEAD IN THE GAME

Donovan benched redshirt junior guard Mike Rosario on Friday after the Gators’ sixth man saw just six minutes of court time. He said following the game that the decision was based solely on Rosario’s recent mindset and his displeasure with how he was approaching playing. Donovan expanded on those thoughts in a big way on Monday:

“He’s fine. One of the things with him right now is mentally I just feel like he’s trying to figure out – and this is all different for him. He was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school. He has pretty much always been a starter. And it’s not even necessarily about starting or not starting. That’s not the problem. The bigger challenge for him is coming off the bench and that being somewhat new to him. He’s fine knowing whatever is best for our team; he understands. I think it has been somewhat of a mental drain on him a little bit trying to figure out how he can carve his niche in something he’s never done before. It’s my responsibility to try and help him through some of that.

“Clearly I don’t think the last couple of days he’s been himself because he’s probably been a little frustrated not with his role but with himself that he can’t provide more than he can. He feels like he can and knows he can, and I believe like he can too. Just mentally he did not seem like he was where he needed to be in the first half when we threw him in there. […]

“He and I had a chance to talk. I would imagine that he’s in a better place mentally right now than probably he was back then. When you sit out for a while year, you want to come in and find a way to help – whatever way you can do. I think he’s trying to figure out how he can go about helping. His way of helping teams in a lot of ways has just been through his scoring all the time. There’s more things that he can do to help our team, that he needs to do to help our team. He needs to get more committed on defense. He needs to get more committed to doing the little things. He’s already a proven scorer. We’re not lacking for scoring. We’re not lacking for that. So even if he’s not on the floor, there’s going to be enough guys that can make some shots and there’s different things that we can do.

“He does add a different element to our team. When he does get in the game, his difficult is when he’s out there, he’s got to get going right away. It’s not like we have 5-7 minutes in the game to let him warm up and get loose and go at his pace. He needs to go. He needs to be aggressive. He needs to be on edge. He needs to be focused, and he needs to defend at the level he needs to. For him, he’s always been a guy that’s been out there and has been able to play through different things. That’s not the case right now. He’s not able to do that. He’s got to be able to come in there and make an impact.

“For him, a lot of people have defined the role as instant offense off the bench. I’m not worried about his scoring. He’s proven that he can score. We need other things out of him. One game this year he grabbed seven rebounds. He’s done some really good things, and he’s shown the ability to make shots, but he’s also got to make a commitment defensively where when he’s on the floor we’re not playing with a weak link out there defensively. For him, trying to figure that out has been something that he’s struggling with right now that I need to help him with.”

BEAL’s BUMPY ROAD WILL SMOOTH OUT

As a freshman on a team with a good amount of experience in the backcourt, guard Bradley Beal has looked out of sorts at times, especially when it comes to shooting consistently and taking care of the ball. Donovan is not worried one bit about Beal’s early struggles because he knows that his talent will make up for the time it is taking him to adjust sooner than later.

“He’s a freshman. It’s no different than what Kenny Boynton went through as a freshman, or Chandler Parsons or Lee Humphrey. Lee Humphrey proved to be one of the best three-point shooters to ever play here,” he said.

“When the speed of the game is totally different than it was in high school, there’s always a learning curve that you’ve got to go through. Part of the reason that he’s been able to stay on the floor as long as he has is that he is defending and he is rebounding. He rebounds the ball – that was one of my concerns when we lost Chandler. With our guards, what kind of rebounding will we get from the small forward spot? He’s really done a great job there. I’m not worried about his shooting because he is a great shooter. He needs for me to give him confidence continually to take good shots, and he does take good shots. Those things will start falling as the season unfolds, we play more games, and he gets more comfortable to the speed and athleticism and length of the college game coming from high school.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on dropping the game to Syracuse: “There’s a commitment that goes into doing the things that you got to do in a game to win. We knew going into the game our ability to rebound the ball was going to be critical. Our ability to guard them off the dribble, which I think we did a fairly decent job in, and then obviously the turnovers. We had some plays there where some of the turnovers were not as costly because they were dead ball turnovers and we were able to get back in transition and set our defense. There were a couple late there that certainly hurt us. […] It will help us going forward. Just a commitment and understanding not only at the game but in practice of what you got to do to put yourself in a position to win a game like that.”

» Donovan on Florida playing good man-to-man defense: “They’re extremely explosive, long and athletic in transition. We did a fairly decent job – when we didn’t turn the ball over – getting pretty good shots. We shot a decent percentage on the road in a tough place to shoot. That enabled us to keep them out of transition. They were averaging 30 points a game in transition, and I think they had 15-16 in our game, which playing against them is hard to do. […] Defensively we were pretty locked in with what we needed to do to defend them.”

» Donovan on playing tough road opponents: “Our guys understand that playing the second game of the year at Ohio State, going to Syracuse, I’m not sure how many teams would be favored going into both of those teams’ gyms. We got a chance to play against two of the better teams in the country on the road. You got to put yourself in a position where you don’t beat yourself so to speak. In both of those games – in particularly Ohio State – they did a great job but we made some decisions offensively that really hurt us. We went for long stretches without scoring and that shouldn’t be the case. Offensively we did a better job being patient [against Syracuse] and we rebounded the ball fairly well. Syracuse will be as big as long and as athletic a team as we’ll face this year.”

» Donovan on Arizona being a similar team to UF: “There’s a lot of similarities in a lot of aspects of the way we’re playing because there’s time that we’re small like they’re small. […] They have the ability to totally alter the look of their team. They can go pretty big or they can go very small. They have shown the ability to play small and go on great runs in big spurts.”

» Sophomore F Will Yeguete on learning to rebound: “I had to work on it a little bit, position-wise, my feet, going for the ball. I got better and that’s one thing I can bring every game and I can control.”

» Yeguete on Rosario: “We know what Mike’s capable of. We know how good Mike can be and how much he can help us. He’s showed to all of the fans that he can be really good. He just had one bad game and was a little bit down on himself.”

» Senior point guard Erving Walker on the Gators turning the ball over a lot versus good opponents: “Now we’ve played two really good teams. We got our feet wet with them. It’s a totally different level of competition playing against an Ohio State or Syracuse on the road than Stetson – no disrespect o teams like that. It’s just a different atmosphere and things that we can adjust to well.”

» Walker on getting Murphy back: “It’s a huge boost – another guy that can knock down shots, big man presence, and he can help with rebounds and stuff like that.”

» Walker on Rosario: “Mike is a tough kid. He’s confident and tough. It was just a few things going on with him. I’m sure he’ll be fine and ready to play. He’s working hard at it. It’s not a switch that’s going to happen overnight for him. Mike’s a tough kid and he’s smart. He’s going to figure it out.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Florida evens out at No. 12 after tough road loss

The fourth editions of the regular season USA Today/ESPN and Associated Press Top 25 Polls were released on Monday, and the Kentucky Wildcats remained the No. 1 team in the country after defeating North Carolina in dramatic fashion over the weekend. The Florida Gators dropped a few spots after falling to the then-No. 3/4 Syracuse Orange on the road 72-68 despite three consecutive blowout wins. Florida is one of four Southeastern Conference teams listed in the respective rankings.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

USA TODAY/ESPN COACHES POLL
This Week 1-5: Kentucky (19), Ohio State (11), Syracuse (1), Louisville, Duke
6-10: North Carolina, Baylor, Xavier, Connecticut, Missouri
11-15: Marquette, Florida, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Alabama
16-20: Wisconsin, Creighton, Mississippi State, Michigan, Memphis
21-25: Georgetown, Illinois/Gonzaga, Harvard, Texas A&M

Last Week 1-5: Kentucky (22), Ohio State (8), Syracuse (1), Duke, North Carolina
6-10: Louisville, Wisconsin, Baylor, Florida, Connecticut
11-15: Xavier, Alabama, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan
16-20: Marquette, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, UNLV
21-25: Memphis, Creighton, California, Mississippi State, Saint Louis

ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25 POLL
This Week 1-5: Kentucky (47), Ohio State (18), Syracuse, North Carolina, Louisville
6-10: Baylor, Duke, Xavier, Connecticut, Missouri
11-15: Marquette, Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin, Pittsburgh
16-20: Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgetown, Creighton, Michigan
21-25: Memphis, Texas A&M, Gonzaga, Illinois, Harvard

Last Week 1-5: Kentucky (46), Ohio State (17), Duke (2), Syracuse, North Carolina
6-10: Louisville, Baylor, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Florida
11-15: Xavier, Alabama, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas
16-20: Marquette, Pittsburgh, UNLV, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt
21-25: Mississippi State, Memphis, Saint Louis, California, Texas A&M

*Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

Tags:

 Page 148 of 241  « First  ... « 146  147  148  149  150 » ...  Last »