Gators at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine – Part 2

OGGOA Related: Gators at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine – Part 1

ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive has covered the seven former Florida Gators players who were officially invited to participate in the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine (National Invitational Camp) in Indianapolis, IN, at Lucas Oil Stadium each day.

Two Florida Gators safeties – Ahmad Black and Will Hill – have now been measured, completed exams, met with the media, been interviewed by teams, undergone psychological tests and completed their full combine workout. The duo was on the same schedule throughout the week; they arrived Saturday and departed Tuesday. Below is how each player measured in and performed at the NFL Combine.

Strong safety Ahmad Black (Group 10, DB3)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 184 lbs.
Arm Length: 31 in.
Hand Size: 9 7/8 in.

40-Yard Dash: 4.74 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.20 seconds
60-Yard Shuttle: 11.25 seconds
Bench Press: 18 reps
Broad Jump: 9’11”
Vertical Jump: 35.5
3-Cone Drill: 6.85 seconds

Overview: When discussing Black’s future, analysts usually say something along the lines of, “He was great in college, but…” and conclude the sentence referencing the fact that he is undersized for a NFL safety. This is a known obstacle, but Black has proven over a four-year college career that he has every other attribute needed to succeed at the next level. He is tough, durable, smart and can sniff out passes with the best of them. His stature will prevent him from lining up one-on-one against more physical receivers, but he makes up for that in athleticism, tackling ability and overall football intelligence. Black can blitz and cover and should be an immediate starter on special teams who works himself into a starting safety role on the next level.
Strengths: Athleticism, instinctive, awareness, intelligence, tackling ability, leadership
Weaknesses: Size, speed, backpedaling

Free safety Will Hill (Group 10, DB22)
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 202 lbs.
Arm Length: 32 in.
Hand Size: 9 1/2 in.

40-Yard Dash: 4.65 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.19 seconds
Broad Jump: 10’3″
Vertical Jump: 31.0
3-Cone Drill/60-Yard Shuttle/Bench Press: ? / DNP

Overview: Coming out of high school as a five-star recruit, Hill was expected to be a world beater at Florida. He possesses all of the physical tools necessary to make it in the NFL but has struggled with his awareness and football IQ. Hill’s best trait on the field is his ball skills and ability to stop the run, but he did not prove to be especially productive in the former area with the Gators. As a special teams player, Hill could start right away as a rookie; as a safety it will probable take a while for him to develop, if he ever does.
Strengths: Athleticism, size, speed, strength
Weaknesses: Instinctive, consistency, awareness, intelligence

Touching down in Indianapolis, IN, last Wednesday were five other Gators. You can check out how their participation in the combine went by clicking here.

The event, which was held for six days from Feb. 23 to March 1, consisted of more than 300 players being put through a series of drills, tests and interviews while more than 600 NFL personnel in attendance including coaching staffs, executives, player personnel and medical staff look on and evaluate each of them. It amounts to the final job interview these athletes will participate in before the 2011 NFL Draft commences on April 28.

3/1: Donovan’s post-game press conference

Capturing his first Southeastern Conference regular season title since 2007, No. 14/14 Florida Gators (23-6, 12-3 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan spoke to the media after his team thrashed the Alabama Crimson Tide 78-51 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Donovan had plenty to say, so we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his post-game press conference.

ANOTHER TALE OF TWO HALVES

Before waxing poetic about his senior class and how much they deserved the win on Tuesday, Donovan spoke about the disparity in how the Gators played in the first and second halves of the game. Though Florida showed plenty of energy and intensity from the start, the production simply wasn’t there at the beginning.

“To start the game, our guys were very emotional with it being Senior Night and what we were playing for. We played really hard; we played really aggressive,” he said. “As a coach, when you’re sitting over there and every time you shoot the ball it’s a little bit long, you kind of know that they’re a little bit too excited. Our press was good in the first half. We caused some turnovers that helped us, and we had a nice run to close out the first half.”

That being said, there is absolutely no denying what the Gators did after the break. Florida played perhaps its most impressive half of the season, especially when you consider the points they put up and the lead they generated against perhaps the best defensive team in the conference.

“The second half was as about as good of a game that we’ve played in the second half all year,” Donovan said. “Anthony [Grant]’s team is a terrific defensive team, as everybody knows. For us to play the way we did in the second half on both ends of the floor…we guarded them very well and then we were really efficient on offense. We put together a half there that was really incredible.”

He continued, “When you talk about a team [Alabama] that’s holding their opponents to 38 percent from the field and their last five games in the second half they’ve held teams to like 28 percent, these guys shot 70 percent from the field against them. What our team did for that 20 minutes against arguably the best defensive team in our league was pretty impressive.”

Donovan summed it up pretty succinctly. “I see signs and glimpses of ‘really special.’ As a coach, you’re always trying to pull that out of them to do it more consistently. […] We played special in the second half.”

Read more on Donovan’s emotional night…after the break!
Continue Reading » 3/1: Donovan’s post-game press conference

TWO BITS: Baseball falls, tennis defeats FSU

1 » While Florida Gators fans in Gainesville, FL were busy cheering on the No. 14 basketball team to their first Southeastern Conference regular season title since 2007, those in Tampa, FL were in agony watching No. 5 Florida State Seminoles baseball (8-0) put together a five-run third inning and hold on to defeat No. 1 Florida (7-1) 5-3 on Tuesday. Taking part in the Florida Four event at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the two teams renewed their rivalry with FSU once again coming out on top. UF junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Toledo (0-1) was brushed off the mound quickly after giving up three earned runs on two hits and three walks in 2.1 innings. Junior left-handed pitcher Alex Panteliodis came in to stop the bleeding with one out in the third but coughed up four hits and a walk to allow Florida State to complete their impressive rally.

The Gators added a single run in the bottom of the third as junior right fielder Preston Tucker (2-4, RBI, R) singled home freshman third baseman Zack Powers (1-4, R) and posted two more in the sixth on a rally with a RBI each from sophomore center fielder Kamm Washington (1-3, RBI, BB) and junior left fielder Daniel Pigott (1-4, RBI). Scott Sitz (2-0) earned the win for the Seminoles, and closer Mike McGee (S1) got the save.

2 » Earlier in the day, No. 1 Florida women’s tennis (11-1) spanked No. 22 Florida State 6-1 on the road at Scott Speicher Tennis Center in Tallahassee, FL. The No. 1 doubles pairing of sophomore Allie Will and freshman Alex Cercone led the way for the Gators with an 8-1 victory. Florida’s two other duos – No. 58 freshman Olivia Janowicz/junior Joanna Mather and No. 75 sophomores Lauren Embree/Caroline Hitimana were also victorious. No. 7 Will fell in singles competition, but No. 26 Embree, No. 35 Cercone, No. 34 Janowicz, No. 125 Hitimana and freshman Sofie Oyen all won their individual matches.

Gators win first SEC title since 2007 as No. 14 Florida chomps Alabama 78-51 on Senior Night

It took them four years of scratching and clawing, but on Senior Night at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, the No. 14 Florida Gators (23-6, 12-3 SEC) won at least a share of the Southeastern Conference regular season title for the first time since 2007 by thrashing the Alabama Crimson Tide (19-10, 11-4 SEC) 78-51.

Fittingly enough, it was Florida’s three seniors – redshirt center Vernon Macklin and forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus – who led the way for the Gators’ romp. The trio combined to score 50 of UF’s 78 team points with Macklin and Parsons each accounting for 19. Macklin also led Florida with a game-high 11 rebounds; Tyus scored 12 and gave a sterling effort on the glass with nine boards.

The Gators played with passion and intensity the entire game, but one would not get that impression by looking at the first half box score. Florida started the game 3-for-19 from the field and 0-for-10 from downtown but led Alabama nearly the entire first half.

UF closed the half with back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guard Kenny Boynton to knot it up at 30 even though they finished 11-of-30 from the floor, 2-of-12 from three and 6-of-12 from the free throw line. UA shot the ball better but had eight fewer attempts due to turning the ball over 10 times.

Coming out of the break, the Gators started hot with a 7-2 run to go up five. After some back-and-forth action, Florida put their foot on the gas and refused to let up. UF exploded on a 28-6 run over almost 10 minutes that included a flurry of three-pointers from Boynton, Parsons and junior point guard Erving Walker.

The Gators ended up hitting twice as many shots as the Crimson Tide in the second half (18-9), went 18-for-26 overall in the later portion of the game and took a game-high 27-point lead in the final few minutes of action.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan pulled Macklin and Parsons to standing ovations with 1:23 to go and called a timeout for Tyus to leave the court with a minute left. He then substituted redshirt junior F Adam Allen, who had not stepped on the court in three years and is retiring after the season, to run out the final 25 seconds of the clock.

Boynton joined the seniors with a stellar offensive effort including 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc to go along with six assists. Walker added eight points and seven dimes even though he did not hit his first shot until well into the second half.

Guard Trevor Releford led Alabama in scoring with 17 points, while star Fs JaMychael Green and Tony Mitchell combined for 24 points and 17 rebounds (11 offensive).

UF hopes to keep the SEC title to themselves but first must face No. 20/21 Vanderbilt on the road Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN. UA will also head on the road to face Georgia on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

No. 14 Florida vs. Alabama Gameday (Senior Day)

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

TV: ESPNU
Online Video: N/A
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 14 FLORIDA GATORS ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Anthony Grant
Record: 22-6 (11-3 SEC) Record: 19-9 (11-3 SEC)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -6; O/U 125.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Alabama leads the all-time series against Florida 73-59, but the Gators have beat the Crimson Tide in 15 of the last 18 contests dating back to 1999. Florida defeated Alabama 66-65 in Tuscaloosa last season, making Donovan 16-5 all-time against the Crimson Tide (8-0 at home).
» The Gators are 4-1 against the SEC West this season after going an undefeated 6-0 against the division last year.
» Florida has won 14 of its last 17 games with 12 victories against RPI top 100 teams; their six-game winning streak was snapped Saturday by Kentucky.
» Alabama has also won 14 of its last 17 games and has only allowed six opponents to score more than 60 points over that stretch.
» UF and UA, both No. 1 seeds in the 2011 SEC Tournament, are squaring off Tuesday with the victor winning the overall SEC regular season title.
» The Gators are 19-1 (8-0 SEC) when holding an opponent under 70 points this year.
» Florida is 13-3 at home this year and can reach 14 wins in the O’Dome for the seventh time in Donovan’s 15-year UF career.
» The Gators, struggling all season from the line, are hitting 73.6 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe over the last six games.
» Florida is 9-2 when senior forward Chandler Parsons takes 10+ shots from the field. He moved into the top 20 in school history in scoring (1,345 points) with 15 points on Saturday. He is also one of only three active players in Division I college basketball with over 1,300 points, 750 rebounds, 300 assists and 100 steals.
» Gators junior point guard Erving Walker, with 195 three-pointers, is sixth all-time at UF. He is three treys away from moving into the top five.
» Florida has reached 20+ wins for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the SEC. The Gators have also reached 10 wins in league play for the ninth time in the last 13 years and first time since 2007 (13-3).
» The Crimson Tide are led by Grant, a former assistant under Donovan, who has compiled a 112-49 mark in five years as a head coach (36-24 at current job).
» Florida bests Alabama in all four major national statistical categories. The Gators top the Crimson Tide in points per game 70.8-67.6 (120th-214th), rebounds per game 37.8-37.2 (46th-65th), assists per game 13.8-12.9 (115th-176th) and field goal percentage .457-.452 (80th-104th). Alabama is one of the few teams in the SEC that plays better defense than Florida, limiting opponents to 58.2 points and .373 shooting on the season (vs. 62.2 and .423). UF ranks 12th in RPI (.6333) and eighth in strength of schedule nationally compared to UA being 87th (.5487) and 175th, respectively.

SENIOR DAY

The Gators’ 2010-11 senior class will graduate with a (as of press time) 92-42 all-time record including a SEC East title and two NCAA Tournament appearances. Allen, who has suffered from chronic knee problems, has not played since April 1, 2008 and will depart the program one year early. Macklin was around for 43 of those wins, joining the team as a transfer and only playing two seasons after redshirting. Parsons is in the top 20 in school history in scoring, and Tyus was just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals. Parsons also won SEC Player of the Week and Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week in his senior season.

* F Adam Allen – #14 – Milton, Fla. [redshirt junior]
Career at UF (2007-08): 144 points, 29 rebounds, 15 assists, six steals, three blocks

* C Vernon Macklin – #32 – Portsmouth, Va. [redshirt senior]
Career at UF (2009-11): 673 points, 355 rebounds, 46 assists, 29 steals, 52 blocks

* F Chandler Parsons – #25 – Casselberry, Fla. [senior]
Career at UF (2007-11): 1,345 points, 787 rebounds, 303 assists, 121 steals, 37 blocks

* F Alex Tyus – #23 – St. Louis, Mo. [senior]
Career at UF (2007-11): 1,243 points, 692 rebounds, 72 assists, 51 steals, 107 blocks

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Parsons…who is back to averaging double-digit points (11.1) while leading the Gators with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Parsons ranks No. 1 among active SEC players in rebounds (787), No. 3 in points (1,345) and assists (303) and No. 4 steals (121). At one point he notched three-straight double-doubles and now has six this year.
» Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.6 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.415) and three-point percentage (.374). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (69) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 56.9 percent from the floor this season as a starter with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.2 points and 6.0 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 37.0 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 13.5 points per game and makes a team-high 83.5 percent of his free throws. He is also shooting 90.6 percent from the line (48-of-53) in SEC play.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
» Freshmen PG Scottie Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging over 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25:1), while Young averages 3.2 points and 3.4 boards.
» Alabama Fs JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell who each shoot better than .500 from the floor while averaging nearly 16 points and seven boards per game. The duo is responsible for the vast majority of the Crimson Tide’s points and rebounds this season.

Parsons, Tyus, Macklin celebrating Senior Day

The No. 14/14 Florida Gators (22-6, 11-3 SEC) hope the conclusion of Tuesday’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide (19-9, 11-3 SEC) brings the same smiles that three seniors and one junior will have on their faces before the contest even begins, as the University of Florida celebrates the achievements of redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, senior forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus, and redshirt junior F Adam Allen on Senior Day. All three players, along with head coach Billy Donovan, spoke about the special occasion on Monday.

LOOKING BACK ON FOUR YEARS OF GROWTH

Refraining from referring to ego or a sense of entitlement, Donovan discussed the trials and tribulations his graduating class went through over the course of their Florida careers – especially early on.

“I don’t think you can really be successful unless your heart really gets broken in something that’s competitive,” he said. “I did not feel, when those guys were freshmen and sophomores, that their hearts were broken. Their hearts got broken after their sophomore year. When they came in here after those two National Championships, there was no doubt in their mind they were cruising right to the same thing in 2008 and 2009. It was just very, very immature. It was not their fault. There was no one there to show them.

“They walked into the most difficult situation you could possibly walk into as a young group, and it was not their fault. If anybody, it was my fault. When I say it was my fault, I did not have enough depth or enough people around those guys that when [the Oh Fours] left, that there was enough there for those guys. They came in as freshmen not knowing anything and really got put into a very difficult situation. I give them credit because they were resilient. They did battle and they did fight and they did try to figure things out. They could have felt sorry for themselves. They could have left and gone somewhere else, but they kept battling. Where they are today from where they were as freshmen is two totally different ends of the spectrum.”

Parsons remembers Donovan locking the team out of the beautiful practice facility and taking away their official team clothes after a tough first season that resulted in a NIT berth. “That was unbelievable. That was a rough time for everybody,” he said. “Having to practice at Florida Gym with no shirt, our own shorts, having to do our laundry, come back three times a day, practicing at P.K. Yonge. That was definitely different. Those experiences have helped our upperclassmen get to where they are today.”

EMOTIONAL YET REWARDING

Like most coaches, Donovan will probably show plenty of emotion and stick his chest out with pride as his four oldest players celebrate their final game in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. “It’s always a hard thing. It’s emotional for anybody. When guys step into the arena and know it’s their last game, that’s significant,” he said. “They’re never going to play there again. When they’re young, they act like it’s never going to end. Now they realize, ‘Wow, this is coming to an end.’”

That being said, he also realizes what it took for them to get to where they are now both as players and individuals. “It’s been very rewarding, fulfilling just to see them to get to this point. Sometimes, two-to-three years ago, you don’t know if you’re ever going to get to that point in time,” Donovan noted. “They have worked hard. They have figured some things out. They still know there is a lot left of this season to be played.

“Those three guys deserve a lot of credit in terms of trying to get better, trying to improve and dealing with the adversity and growing pains of trying to be successful.”

Macklin in particular realizes he has made huge strides since first joining the team as a transfer from Georgetown. “I came a long way. I was mentally and physically weak when I got here,” he said. “It was tough for me to realize that coaches and these players actually care about me. Me sitting out, these guys treated me like I was actually playing that year. That made me feel like those guys really wanted me to be here. That helped me out a lot, and I think I’ve grown a lot from there.”

Read more from the mouths of Parsons, Allen and Macklin…after the break!
Continue Reading » Parsons, Tyus, Macklin celebrating Senior Day

FOUR BITS: Bond, Manuel, Dwyer, swimming

1 » Florida Gators guard Jaterra Bonds, who is second on the women’s basketball team in points this year, was named to the 2011 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team on Tuesday. She won the SEC Freshman of the Week award twice this season and scored a career-high 22 points one week ago.

2 » Former Gators safety Marquand Manuel, a sixth-round pick in the 2002 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, completed an eight-year NFL career in 2009 and has been hired as an intern with the football staff, according to the University of Florida. Manuel, who played under former head coach Steve Spurrier from 1998-2001, totaled 308 tackles (nine for loss), six interceptions, 22 passes defended, eight sacks and six fumble recoveries in his college career. He played in both a SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl and was an honor student at UF. In the league, he saw extensive time from 2002-2006 with Cincinnati, Seattle and Green Bay. Manuel caught and returned an interception 32 yards in the 2005 NFC Championship game to help send Seattle to Super Bowl XL, a game in which he started. He also spent a full season as a starter with Green Bay the following season before being released by the team and bouncing around the NFL until deciding to call it quits.

3 » Florida senior swimmer Conor Dwyer has been chosen as the cover athlete for the March 2011 issue of Swimming World Magazine, which is a College Championships Preview issue. Dwyer is the defending NCAA National Men’s Swimmer of the Year and is having yet another fantastic season.

4 » Gators swimming, under head coach Gregg Troy, has announced a significant restructuring of the program due to the 2012 London Olympics. Troy was named head coach of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Swimming Team and, with Florida’s blessing, will need some assistance handling both gigs next season. Below is a portion of UF’s release, which can be read in full here.

The University of Florida men’s and women’s swimming program will undergo an organizational restructuring in preparation of the 2012 Olympic year, head coach Gregg Troy announced Tuesday. Assistant head coaches Martyn Wilby and Anthony Nesty have each been promoted to the title of associate head coach, while assistant coach Steve Jungbluth has been named recruiting coordinator. Assistant coach Leah Martindale-Stancil will retain her duties on deck as well as her role as swim camp director, while Erva Gilliam has been elevated to the director of swimming operations.

“The restructuring of our program will provide us with an opportunity on deck to really focus in on the first-hand development of premier performances by our swimmers,” Troy said. “With the number of current and post-graduate swimmers here on our campus that are training towards the 2012 London Olympics, the delegation of administrative duties will allow us more time on deck to really work hand-in-hand with the training of each of our student-athletes, allowing them to compete for SEC, NCAA and Olympic Championships.”

2/28: Donovan on SEC title, Grant, defense

No. 14/14 Florida Gators (22-6, 11-3 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availabilities Monday.

IT’s ALL ABOUT THE ‘SHIP

Don’t get it twisted. While there are plenty of storylines that will converge Tuesday night in Gainesville, FL, the most important thing to both Florida and the Alabama Crimson Tide is the opportunity to capture the 2011 Southeastern Conference regular season title. It is something that the Gators have worked four years to be in the position to achieve, while the Crimson Tide has simply played terrific basketball in conference play after starting the season out shaky.

“Ultimately both teams are going to go out there and are going to have to play,” said Donovan of facing his ex-associate coach. “We both do similar things, there are some similarities there. But you’re always coaching to your personnel and what you have.”

Alabama head coach Anthony Grant shared a similar sentiment, also heavily complimenting Florida as a team and the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. “Florida’s playing terrific basketball right now. It will be a tough environment to walk into, in their building Tuesday,” he said. “The thing we try to do is stay in the moment. It’s one game at a time. We’ve got enough with Florida’s team. They’re very talented.”

Perhaps summing it up best from UF’s perspective is redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, who will play his final game in the building Tuesday. “I just want to come out of here with a win, our last win at home. It would be very rewarding,” he said. “I don’t know a player in college basketball who wouldn’t want [to win a conference title].”

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP REMAINS STRONG

Donovan and Grant, both of whom became great friends while working together and have forged a bond that will last a lifetime, have not seen much of each other on the court since the latter left to become a head coach. However, the respect level they have for one another knows no bounds.

“I’m really happy for Anthony because he’s done a teriffic job with his team,” Donovan said early Monday during the SEC media teleconference. He continued praising Grant later in the day. “The personal relationship with Anthony, I’m very happy for him and the job that he’s done with his team. He really has done a terrific job.” Grant shared his thoughts as well. “Obviously I’ve got a lot of respect for what Billy’s done,” he said, “not only this year but the way his guys play [in general].”

PHYSICALITY, TOUGHNESS AND DEFENSE

The Gators have been lauded for the hard-nosed, grind-it-out defense they have exhibited game-in and game-out. In fact, many of Florida’s big victories this season have come from a thorough defensive effort. UF may meet its match Tuesday when it takes on UA, a team that has been holding opponents to fewer points per game (67.6-70.8) and lower shooting percentages (.452-.457). The Crimson Tide also block more shots per game (5.2-3.7), grab more steals (9.6-6.1) and force more turnovers (16.1-13.0).

“They’re a physical team. They do a great job defensively creating a lot of steals. They do a great job with their hands,” Donovan remarked. “Our ability to be strong with the ball is going to be really important in the game. They really don’t give up a lot of easy baskets so to speak. They have good speed, good quickness and athleticism [as well as] size across the front line. They’re just very active defensively and very athletic.”

This is a fact that has not been lost on the players, especially senior forward Chandler Parsons. “They’re one of the best defensive teams in the country. We’re going to have to execute our offense really well,” he said. “Coach Grant was in this system for a while, so I’m sure he knows some of the stuff we’re going to throw at him. It’s all about us being strong with the ball, making smart plays, not turning the ball over because they’re very disruptive on defense.”

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