Three members of the Florida Gators‘ (26-7) starting five met with the media on Monday to discuss their new task of competing in the 2011 NCAA Tournament beginning Thursday against the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in Tampa, FL. OGGOA has compiled some of the most important notes and quotes from the players.
IS THE NO. 2 SEED DESERVED?
Like with head coach Billy Donovan, the first question asked to the players was whether or not they were pleased with and felt deserving of a No. 2 seed in the tournament. It appears that, like with most fans, the positioning came as a bit of a shocker but is certainly appreciated. ”I had a feeling we were going to be a No. 3 seed, honestly. The two-seed kind of shocked me,” senior forward Chandler Parsons said. “We deserve it. I’m happy with it. I like our draw.”
Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton agreed. “I was happy to see we had a two-seed. We were deserving. We worked hard this season,” he said. “Whether we were a two-seed or a six-seed, it really doesn’t mean anything. Every game we just got to come out and play.” Asked specifically about the comments by analyst Charles Barkley, junior point guard Erving Walker made a pointed statement. “Charles Barkley’s not playing for us. We just have to focus on ourselves and keep working hard as a team,” he said.
PREPARING FOR THE GAUCHOS
For Parsons, Thursday – and any subsequent games – could be the last time he plays in the orange and blue. He, for one, does not plan for that to be the case. “It’s all-or-nothing from here on out. It’s flown by; time has gone by very fast,” he said. “As soon as we lose, we’re done, so I don’t want that to come down for another three weeks.”
In order to stay afloat, Parsons says what Donovan has been preaching – Florida has to play with more consistency. “We definitely have some ups and downs. We’ve had trouble not being consistent this year. We just got to keep playing – no matter if we play bad in the first half, second half – we just got to put it all together for 40 minutes,” he said.
Boynton is able to differentiate the team’s mindset this year compared to that in 2010. “Last year we got complacent that we were in the tournament. We didn’t know exactly how good BYU was or how good Jimmer Fredette was,” he said. “When we got in the game, we played hard, but we didn’t prepare the right way. This year, we’ve been there before. This year, we’re going to prepare to go deep into the tournament.”
STOPPING ORLANDO IN TAMPA
Leading a tall starting lineup for Santa Barbara is G/F Orlando Johnson Standing at 6’5”, he is likely too athletic for Parsons to defend; Boynton will most likely be charged with the task and said Monday that he is ready for it. “I try to pressure as much as I can so [taller guards] don’t get a shot off. I’m going to do my best to disrupt what he has going on,” he said.
Asked what it is like to often be forced to defend taller players, Walker sympathized with the situation. “That’s been my whole life – facing a bigger guard. That’s nothing I’m afraid of at this point in my life,” he said. “I’m always the smallest player, so for somebody to be taller than me is not really a big deal to me.”
Parsons on being like a former Florida starter: “I’d love to have Lee Humphrey’s shot.”
Walker on his relationship with Boynton: “He’s like a brother to me. Since he first got here we’ve been real cool. We’ve just grown together.”
Boynton on a potential rematch with BYU: “Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I’ve definitely seen that. They’re a good team. If we do meet up, we both got to come and play.”
Boynton on losing to Kentucky: “We didn’t want to lose, but it’s a good thing. After our losses, we watch a lot of film and we see the things we need to get better at. The next game we come out stronger.”