Florida grounds UNCW 77-60 in season opener

For the 20th consecutive time, No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball (1-0) won their regular season opener, defeating the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks (0-1) 77-60 Friday evening at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Senior forward Chandler Parsons led the way for Florida with 16 points in the contest.

Tied at six early, the Gators missed six consecutive wide-open shots and turned the ball over five times, allowing the Seahawks to go up 11-6. Fed up with the performance of his starters, head coach Billy Donovan made a mass substitution that paid off when freshmen guard Casey Prather and point guard Scottie Wilbekin made back-to-back hustle plays to knot the score at 11.

Florida started pulling away from there, taking a 37-26 lead over UNC-Wilmington at the half when Parsons concluded an 8-0 run with a buzzer-beating put-back layup. He scored 12 of his game-high 16 points in the first half, while Wilbekin and junior PG Erving Walker each had three steals.

Read the rest of the Friday’s game story along with post-game news & notes…
Continue Reading » Florida grounds UNCW 77-60 in season opener

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

2010-11 Florida Gators basketball season preview

Finally returning to the NCAA Tournament after back-to-back appearances in the NIT, the No. 9/11 Florida Gators basketball team is back in the preseason top 10 and looking to return to the glory it experienced just a few short years ago. With forward Dan Werner now graduated and five new freshmen in the fold looking to make an impact, head coach Billy Donovan hopes to get back to his winning ways.

STARTING FIVE:

PG Erving Walker – junior, 5’8”, 171 lbs.
2009 STATS: 12.6 PPG – 4.9 APG – 3.3 RPG – .339 FG% – .347 3P% – 32.9 MPG
A spark plug who often appears to prefer shooting and penetrating to passing, Walker was named to the Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team two years ago and the preseason All-SEC second team this year. He had trouble performing at a high level last season partially due to the lack of depth behind him on the bench. Donovan has noted that Walker’s shot selection, stroke and defense have all improved over the summer. He plans to keep him fresh by utilizing a number of other players at point guard during games and hopes that Walker will improve his ball handling, court vision and willingness to dish the ball – three things he needed to work on at this point last year.

G Kenny Boynton – sophomore, 6’2”, 183 lbs.
2009 STATS: 14.0 PPG – 2.7 APG – 2.6 RPG – .376 FG% – .294 3P% – 32.9 MPG
A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Boynton was the pride of the Gators’ 2009 recruiting class. Quick both with and without the ball, Boynton is highly competitive and athletic with the ability to play either backcourt position. He led Florida in points and was second in minutes played (Walker) in his first season, catching on fire in his final two games scoring a combined 50 points on 16-of-33 shooting while also going 9-of-18 from downtown. He can get his shot off at will, whether it be a pull up jumper, deep three-pointer, floater down the lane or penetrating layup. Boynton is also a tough defender who is strong with quick feet laterally but, like Walker, was gassed late in games last season due to lack of depth. Also similar to Walker, Donovan is impressed with Boynton’s improved shot selection and decision making this offseason. He was honored with a preseason All-SEC second team nomination this year.

This post contains 1,818 words previewing the season. You have already made it this far, so you might as well continue reading the rest…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2010-11 Florida Gators basketball season preview

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

11/10: Donovan, players speak before first game

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…)
Continue Reading » 11/10: Donovan, players speak before first game

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Florida basketball 2010 preseason wrap-up

Joining ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive for the 2010-11 basketball season is new correspondent Malik Grady. An OGGOA reader since the very beginning and Florida Gators basketball observer for two decades, Malik will be contributing his unique views and educated takes on head coach Billy Donovan’s squad throughout the season. Please do us a favor and welcome him into the fold after reading his first offering, a review of Florida’s two preaseason games this year.

By Malik Grady – OGGOA Correspondent

BALL HANDLERS

Observers only had five minutes to evaluate freshman Scottie Wilbekin before he was injured, during which time he managed a pair of assists and two steals. He has good size for the point and looked quick with the ball, though he seemed to get a little “high school cute” with it. Last year, after the preseason, then-freshman Nimrod Tishman rarely played again, but Wilbekin seems to be much more in Donovan’s plans considering the three-guard lineup the Gators have practiced with at times.

Junior Erving Walker, last year’s starter at the point, showed a bit of the good news/bad news he did at times last season. He led the team in assists (13 in the two games) but also had six turnovers while simultaneously forcing shots at times. Donovan said he’s seen improvement overall in Walker’s decision making, and he is improving defensively in the press where his stature is actually a benefit.

Fellow junior Kyle McClanahan saw a total of 17 minutes in the preseason but showed some limitations after managing four turnovers in six minutes in his first game and no assists in either. Donovan has expressed confidence in him at times though, so it’s possible he could work himself into emergency duty.

Read the rest of Malik’s preseason wrap-up and prepare for OGGOA‘s 2010-11 season preview (published Thursday)…after the break!
Continue Reading » Florida basketball 2010 preseason wrap-up

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

Gators defeat Tigers 88-62 in exhibition finale

No. 9/11 Florida Gators men’s basketball finished its short exhibition season undefeated, taking down the Georgetown College Tigers 88-62 at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, on Wednesday night.

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton led the way for the Gators with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting (4-of-9 from downtown) with three assist, while junior point guard Erving Walker was effective on both ends of the floor, scoring 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting with seven assists and six steals. Senior forward Chandler Parsons contributed to the effort with nine points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

As a team, Florida shot 55.9 percent (33-of-59) from the floor and led 44-19 going into halftime. The Gators started the second half with a lack of intensity and focus likely due to their large lead, allowing the Tigers to score 43 points in the final 20 minutes.

“Top 10 teams don’t hold a team in the first half to 32 percent from the field, 14 percent from the three-point line and then look at the second half, defensively, [and not do the same],” head coach Billy Donovan said after the game. “To give up 53 percent in the second half from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line, to me, is the reason why I don’t believe we’re a top-10 team. Because of that right there. Top 10 teams, to me, don’t do those things.”

Florida officially begins the 2010-11 season on Friday, Nov. 12 when they take on UNC-Wilmington at 7 p.m. The game will be available live on Sun Sports

Other stat lines:
– Senior F Alex Tyus – eight points (4-of-7), two assists
– Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin – 10 points (5-of-6), four rebounds
– Sophomore G Erik Murphy – seven points (3-of-5), three rebounds, two steals
– Freshman C Patric Young – seven points (2-of-4), three rebounds, two blocks
– Freshman G Casey Prather – four points (1-of-5), three reb., two blocks, two steals
– Freshman F Will Yeguete – six points (1-of-1), three rebounds

DONOVAN’s POST-GAME QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Gators defeat Tigers 88-62 in exhibition finale

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

11/2: Donovan, players on second exhibition

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 Florida’s starting five can also be found below.

TYUS’ COMMITMENT NEVER IN DOUBT

Though senior forward Alex Tyus nearly transferred after his sophomore season and tested NBA Draft waters last year before ultimately deciding to return to the team, Donovan never questioned his commitment to the University of Florida at any time.

“After his sophomore year a lot of it had to do with the position and where he was having to play. I don’t think it was necessarily any ill feelings towards Florida or myself,” Donovan said. “It was probably this thing that was ingrained into him early on in his career by a lot of different people that he had to play this position in order to become this kind of player. It was really the furthest thing from the truth, and it really was not reality.

“I’ve never really questioned his commitment. Alex is a great kid, he wants to win, I think he has a good relationship with his teammates. It was probably a product of him being younger and getting advice and opinions from some people that maybe really didn’t understand what the reality was of some of the situations.”

MACKLIN NEEDS TO STEP UP AS A LEADER

With so many freshmen set to play significant minutes coming off the bench this season, Donovan has been impressed with the leadership shown by two of the team’s seniors – Tyus and Chandler Parsons. However, when it comes to redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, Donovan sees room for improvement and attributes the gap to Macklin never being in a similar situation before.

“Vernon in particular has got do a better job leading this time of year for us. He’s got to understand the big picture in terms of what we’re trying to do. Vernon has got to prove that he can lead under duress, under adversity, under difficult circumstances,” he said. “I’ve tried to create some adversity in practices for him and for our team to see how they will respond. I don’t think Vernon has responded like I would like to see him respond. He’s done a great job up to this point. He’s played well and he’s worked hard. He himself has got to be able to handle and be a calming force in a lot of ways for our team. There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do that.”

Macklin understands what Donovan is looking for and hopes to satisfy his coach’s request. “I’m a vocal person, I just got to not let little things get to me and not have them affect the way I still be vocal in practice,” he said. “If something is not going my way, I still got to be a vocal person.”

WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE

Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin, who had been impressing Donovan daily in practice, strained his neck in the Gators’ first exhibition game and has not practiced since. He will sit out Florida’s exhibition finale against Georgetown College. “We’re hoping to have him back maybe by the weekend,” Donovan said. “[That’s] maybe a little bit on the positive side, maybe [he’ll practice] a little bit later than that.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 11/2: Donovan, players on second exhibition

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Florida routs Florida Tech 92-58 in exhibition

The No. 9/11 Florida Gators took the court at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center for the first time during the 2010-11s season and came away with a 92-58 exhibition game win over the Florida Tech Panthers on Thursday night.

Every member of the Gators saw action Thursday, though it was sophomore guard Kenny Boynton who led the way with 24 points and five rebounds on 10-of-15 shooting (4-of-6 from downtown) in 25 minutes. Freshman forward Casey Prather, seeing the court for the first time while wearing the orange and blue, also played for 25 minutes and earned a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Senior Fs Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus were the Gators’ other offensive standouts with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Parsons also contributed four rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Tyus added three boards. Junior point guard Erving Walker was the team’s main facilitator, playing 24 minutes and recording six assists.

Also in their first game for Florida as freshmen, center Patric Young took two charges, F Will Yeguete scored six points and grabbed eight rebounds, F Cody Larson played 15 minutes, and PG Scottie Wilbekin played five minutes before straining his neck and sitting out the second half.

As a team the Gators shot 50 percent from the field (37-of-54), out-rebounded the Panthers 46-28 and forced their opponent into 30 turnovers. Highlights included a powerful LeBron James-like block by Young and numerous dunks by Tyus including an inbounds alley-oop in the first half.

POST-GAME QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » Florida routs Florida Tech 92-58 in exhibition

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

10/26: Donovan speaks on starters, freshmen

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the key news and notes from his latest media availability in the following post. Additional quotes after the break.

STARTING FIVE SET

Considering Florida’s entire starting five from last year returned this season, it should come as no surprise that junior point guard Erving Walker, sophomore guard Kenny Boynton, redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, and senior forwards Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus will take the court for the Gators to start each game. Donovan confirmed such on Tuesday, noting that he is pleased with how his starters have been playing in practice but that roles might change depending on how they play together.

“We’ve got five guys obviously returning from a year ago. That doesn’t necessarily mean their roles are going to be that this year. Anytime you move from year-to-year, guys’ roles can change,” Donovan said. “Erving Walker went from playing off the ball his freshman year to strictly being the point guard of our team. Chandler early in his career had to play some power forward spot for us just because of our lack of depth, and he certainly last year clearly played the small forward spot. Roles can change but the one thing those five guys have is a level of experience under their belt and a lot of games under their belt. With that being said, it’s really hard to get better in practice. One of the things we’ve struggled with is that balance between of really trying to get better in practice through competition.”

FRESHMEN PROVIDING GREAT DEPTH IN PRACTICE

Donovan cited the fact that the deep freshman class is really helping the older players in practice on a daily basis even though the competition level is not at its highest point yet. He has matched up each freshman with an older player with whom they go head-to-head every day. “It’s me vs. you because I’m making you better and you need to make me better; when you can create that kind of environment, your team has a chance to get a lot better. Patric Young has made Vernon better, Vern has made him better. [Mike] Rosario has made Boynton better, Boynton has made Rosario better. Scottie Wilbekin – Erving Walker, Casey Prather – Chandler, Will Yeguete – Alex, Erik Murphy. We’ve got enough now that the practices are at a level physically competing wise that guys are in a position where they have to compete on a regular basis.”

He is also impressed with how the youngsters have handled the heavy workouts and are trying to play to the level of what was an NCAA Tournament team last year. “I’m a little bit cautious with freshman after a week of practice to sit there, start giving guys a lot of praise,” Donovan said. “What happens is, they haven’t hit the wall and the grind and what happens there. But as of today, they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do – I think all the guys have.”

Even Parsons has noticed. “Coach really emphasizes that you can go as hard as you can just for as long as you can because there’s basically a sub there waiting for you at basically every position,” he said. “It’s different. My first couple years, we’re going three-on-three or four-on-four and you’re not getting off the court until you get the amount of stops coach wants or until he’s happy. At least now you’re going hard and you’re rewarded because there’s a sub there for you. It’s just nice having some depth there.”

QUOTES (After the break…)
Continue Reading » 10/26: Donovan speaks on starters, freshmen

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

 Page 31 of 42  « First  ... « 29  30  31  32  33 » ...  Last »