Florida Gators 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 from his latest media availability in the following post. Additional material from some of Florida’s players can also be found below.
SECOND HALF STARTS STILL A CONCERN
After the Gators’ second preseason game, Donovan was emphatic that the way they team performed in the second half against Georgetown College was not acceptable. Ever since, he has made a point in practice to ensure the team knows it cannot come out of halftime lackadaisical – especially against much better opponents.
“It definitely got addressed and something that we really talked about. We had better practices from that. It’s not so much the handling of expectations as much as it is the handling of prosperity – when you get recognized, when you get attention, when people talk favorably about you, positively about it,” Donovan said. “If you look at the first half of the Florida Tech game, if you look at the first half of the Georgetown game, those teams are shooting 33-34 percent from the field, they’re shooting 22 percent from the three-point line, and we’re forcing about 14 turnovers in the half.
“Now you take the second half of both those two games and you put together a 40-minute stat sheet – 20 minutes of each half – and we’re giving up 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from the three-point line. Can you play with a lead? Can you play when its 44-19? Can you understand, maturity-wise, that Georgetown is going to come out of the locker room and start the second half with a high level of intensity? They’re down by 25 points! If they were in that situation, I would hope they’d do the same thing! It’s a mentality that you have to have where the first four minutes starts in the second half and you send a message to that team that, ‘We’re not letting you back in the game.’”
Senior forward Chandler Parsons reiterated Donovan’s message, explaining that it has hit home with the team. “We don’t want to let up. Up 20, down 20, we want to come out and play our game, play with energy,” he said. “Especially when we have a team up – at home – we don’t want to take our foot off the gas. We want to keep going and keep trying to extend the lead.”
WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE
Though Florida’s depth in the frontcourt has been seriously strengthened, it is pretty much freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin or bust behind junior Erving Walker. Injuring his neck against Florida Tech, Wilbekin missed UF’s second exhibition game and finally returned to limited practice on Tuesday. Donovan expects him to be active for Friday’s game after a full-contact practice on Thursday even though Wilbekin’s conditioning has suffered because he has not been able to run or work out until this week. “It was so painful that he could not lift his arms over his shoulders,” Donovan said.
QUOTES (After the break…)
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