TWO BITS: Texas A&M schedule, Mann moved

1 » The Texas A&M Aggies, with their week two game against the Florida Gators set to be their first-ever league contest as a member of the Southeastern Conference, will now open their entire 2012 campaign against Florida after their season opener set for Aug. 30 was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Issac. The storm, which is currently heading through Louisiana, forced Louisiana Tech (Texas A&M’s week one opponent) to call off the game and reschedule it for Oct. 13, which luckily was a bye week for both programs. The adjustment gives the Aggies at least four additional days to prepare for the Gators, which will host Bowling Green on Sept. 1 before travelling the following week to College Station, TX for the showdown on Sept. 8.

2 » According to The Gainesville Sun, Florida freshman Jafar Mann has been moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard effective immediately. Mann, a three-star prospect who was likely set to redshirt anyway this season (but now almost certainly will), is being moved from a position of depth to one of relative weakness. The move may or may not have been pushed forward by the Gators coaching staff after the team lost a commitment from 2013 three-star Joshua Outlaw earlier this month. Florida only has two offensive linemen committed for next season and may not have more than one more player on their board for the next six months.

UPDATE: Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn explained Wednesday that moving Mann was done to work him out at both positions and see where he performs better. He could wind up back at defensive tackle when all is said and done.

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FOUR BITS: Muschamp, Allen, Pitchford, Hill

1 » Despite the lack of actual conflict between Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and Texas A&M Aggies top man Kevin Sumlin, the city of College Station, TX took the barbs as an opportunity to create the following video promoting their city while simultaneously making some light-hearted jokes at Muschamp.

2 » Former Gators forward Adam Allen, who never truly played for Florida again after injuring his knee as a true freshman, left the team for good after seeing 25 seconds on Senior Night in his redshirt junior season. Allen was graduating from the University of Florida and saw no further reason to remain on the team considering he would be unable to play for head coach Billy Donovan. Now over a year removed from the game, Allen has decided to attend Rollins College in Winter Park, FL for graduate school and announced this week that he will also have the opportunity to play basketball while enrolled. Allen, whose knee injury still limits him, told OGGOA (he served as a columnist here during the 2011-12 basketball season) that will not be able to play full-time at Rollins but will do whatever he can to help the team.

3 » Speaking of former Gators basketball players, Florida freshman transfer Walter Pitchford has officially committed to Nebraska after visiting the school over the weekend. “I just thought it was the right decision,” Pitchford told Rivals.com. “I’m comfortable with everyone on the staff and the players. I just felt like I really got along with everyone and this was the right fit for more.” A former three-star recruit, Pitchford was a late UF commitment during the 2011 cycle but played very limited minutes last season. He decided following the season to leave the program and move closer to home and chose a school that is a two-hour flight from Michigan. Pitchford will apply for a hardship waiver (citing family reasons for his transfer) that would allow him to be eligible immediately at Nebraska but chances are he will have to sit out the 2012-13 season.

4 » A future Gators basketball star also got some good news on Saturday when ESPN released its latest top-100 players list for the 2013 season. Florida five-star point guard commitment Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) has been turning heads this entire offseason and jumped 12 spots on the list up to No. 6 overall. Already ranked No. 8 by Rivals, Hill is now a consensus top-10 player and has the opportunity to vault even higher with a stellar senior campaign. The Gators’ primary remaining target for 2013, five-star forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL), is listed as the seventh-best player by ESPN and sixth-best by Rivals. He has plenty of offers but will likely choose between UF and Kansas. Working in Florida’s favor is the fact that Walker and Hill are close and have discussed playing together at the next level.

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Sumlin cracks back at Muschamp’s barb

For two guys who have not been head coaches in the Southeastern Conference for long, Florida’s Will Muschamp (one year, five months) and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin (five months) may be forming the beginnings of a rivalry that the Gators’ head coach sparked last week with a relatively innocent jab.

“You ever been to College Station?” he asked rhetorically to a group of Florida fans at a Gator Gathering in Lakeland FL. “It’ll be the only time you go.”

Sumlin was apparently none-too-pleased when he heard about Muschamp’s barb, responding Wednesday with a very simple comment in a mind-your-own-business vein.

“He needs to worry about his own team,” said Sumlin, who has coached in the state of Texas since 2008, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Muschamp is plenty worried about the Gators, which after a 7-6 season in his first go-around with the team are looking to make a big jump in year two.

Sumlin is in the first year of his rebuilding project after being hired to replace head coach Mike Sherman in December.

Florida will have an opportunity to get off to a hot start when they open up the 2012 SEC slate against, you guessed it, Texas A&M at Kyle Field on Sept. 8. The game will be the Aggies’ first in their new conference and, as the Chronicle notes, “might be the most hyped game in history between two programs coming off 7-6 seasons.”

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Florida softball passes road test in Palm Springs

Participating in the 2012 Cathedral City Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Palm Springs, CA over the long weekend, No. 1 Florida Gators softball (13-1) won four of the five games they played and went 2-1 against top 25-ranked opponents. Though Florida may get knocked down from their top ranking when the new polls are released Tuesday, the Gators still found plenty of success over the weekend.

Florida started the event with back-to-back games against top competition on Thursday afternoon. UF defeated the No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies in a 1 p.m. start before falling to the No. 5 Washington Huskies at 3:30 p.m.

The Gators scored six runs on five hits in the early contest, using sharp hitting from junior catcher Brittany Schutte (1-2, 2 RBI, R, SB) and senior center fielder Michelle Moultrie (1-2, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB) to help propel them to a 6-5 victory. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers pitched a complete game, striking out seven while giving up four earned runs (three in the top of the seventh) on nine hits with two walks.

Freshman RHP Lauren Haeger suffered her first loss of the season in the latter contest, allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Washington led 1-0 through 2.5 innings, but Florida took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third after a triple from freshman second baseman Katie Medina (2-3, RBI, R) and a single by freshman third baseman Sami Fagan (2-4, RBI) sent two runs in. UF would not score again, leaving six on base over the course of the contest), as UW scored pairs of runs in the top of the fifth and six to pull away with a 5-2 win.

Gators head coach Tim Walton gave Haeger an immediate opportunity for redemption, throwing her in the team’s 1 p.m. game against the Brigham Young Cougars on Friday. Florida took down BYU 3-0 thanks partially to Haeger (4-1), who struck out five while scattering five hits and two walks in six innings. Fellow freshman RHP Alyssa Bache came on for the final inning, striking out two to earn her first save of the season. UF scored all three of their runs on two dingers including a solo shot by junior designated hitter Ensley Gammel (1-3, RBI, R) and a two-run bomb by sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (1-2, 2 RBI, R, BB, SB) one inning later.

Gammel and Coyle found their power strokes again in the Gators’ second match-up on Friday, a 5-1 victory over the No. 8 Texas Longhorns. Florida got to the plate in the top of the first, but Texas matched the score with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Gammel (1-3, RBI, R) and Coyle (1-3 RBI, R) then each connected on home runs in the top of the fourth, vaulting UF ahead of UT permanently. Haeger (1-2, 2 RBI) and Schutte (0-2, RBI, BB, SB) were responsible for the other runs in the game, while Rogers only gave up four hits while striking out eight in a complete game outing that did not include an earned run.

Rogers (8-0) earned her third win in as many days on Saturday by striking out five and scattering five hits with only one walk in a complete game outing as the Gators took down the Boise State Broncos 3-0 to close out their road trip. Schutte (1-3, 2 RBI) hit a two-RBI single in the top of the first to give Florida an early advantage, and junior right fielder Kelsey Horton (1-3, RBI, R) smacked a solo homer in the fifth to extend UF’s lead.

It should come as no surprise that some of the team’s best performers over the weekend – Schutte, Coyle, Gammel and Medina – all hail from the state of California.

The Gators returned to Gainesville, FL on Saturday and will remain in town by hosting an event next weekend. Florida will take on Eastern Michigan on Thursday before competing in the Lipton Invitational from March 2-4. UF will take on EMU again on Friday as part of the event along with Gardner-Webb (twice), Tennessee State and Campbell. The Gators are set to open Southeastern Conference play on March 7.

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Florida vs. Texas A&M post-game notes

The No. 13 Florida Gators beat up on the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies 84-64 on Saturday afternoon at the 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL. After the game, head coach Billy Donovan and game MVP junior guard Kenny Boynton shared their thoughts on the victory.

BOYNTON’s BIG HOMECOMING

For the second-straight year, Boynton returned home to South Florida and picked up the MVP award in the OBBC. He accomplished the feat this time around by, as Donovan said, playing within himself and not losing sight of what was important in the game.

“With Kenny playing here before and playing like he did a year ago, the thing I just told him [before the game] was to let the game come to you. Just play and just take what the defense is giving us and do what we’re doing. There’s going to be enough opportunities for him,” he said. “There’s a mindset you have to have. I don’t think it’s ever easy when you come back [and play at home]. One thing I told Patric Young when he went back to play at Jacksonville: ‘All those people in the stands – they’re still going to love you regardless of what happens.’ When you’re back home, you want to do well you want the team to do well. There is so much you want to happen in a positive way. It says a lot about Kenny mentally coming in, staying focused on what the team needed to do. As a result, he had a great game because I think he really played the right way.”

Boynton dropped six threes on his way to a team-high 22 points and was efficient from beyond the arc, appearing to take controlled, balanced shots at every opportunity. Donovan explained that his mindset has changed a lot this year – all for the better.

“When he’s got his legs under him and he’s on balance, he can make deep shots and if guys are closing to him, he can get it off. I’m really happy for him this year. It’s been a lot of fun for me as a coach,” he said. “When he got here as a freshman, he was such a prolific scorer and he did it from behind the line because he could get it off. He went through a great learning process where he had a chance to play a lot as a freshman and then last year he added some different things. Right now, offensively, he’s becoming more and more complete. His turnover ratio is really good. He’s making pull-up mid-range jump shots. He’s making runners. With him doing that, it’s opening up other areas for him behind the line. The biggest thing that he’s doing right now is he’s finally realizing how long a game is.”

REMEDYING THE FREE THROW WOES

The Gators entered Saturday’s game ranked 318th nationally in free throw shooting, hitting just about 59 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe. Florida did much better this week, shooting 77 percent (23-of-30) from the line, playing to Donovan’s opinion that UF is not as bad as it may seem in that area.

“We’re a better free throw shooting team than the stats show,” he said. Kenny’s a good free throw shooter, as is Erving [Walker]. Brad [Beal] made his free throws; he was 6-for-6. I think Will [Yeguete] and Pat need to continue to get better. It was good to see that Casey [Prather] missed his first two; he came back and made two later. How good of a free throw shooting team are we percentage-wise? I know we’re better than 59 percent. They’ve worked at it, they’ve put the time in and we need to just keep doing that.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on how Florida started the game: “I thought the first half was the best we’ve played all year.”

» Donovan on how the game went: “These guys offensively and defensively I thought played really well. I wish we would have handled the lead a little bit better coming out of the locker room. We shared it, we passed it, we moved it. We had inside-outside action. Kenny and Erving and Brad really did a great job, when they got in the lane they knew when to take it in the rim, when they got in the lane they knew when to throw it out to each other.”

» Donovan on having some early foul trouble: “Overall playing the game in the first half really without Patric against that kind of frontcourt, I thought our defense was disruptive enough with the press at half court that we were able to weather that battle with Will and Pat being in foul trouble.”

» Donovan on junior forward Erik Murphy returning to the starting lineup: “We do need Erik’s ability to shoot the ball, stretch the defense, size, rebounding. He can do some different things offensively. We needed to get him back in there. It was nothing that Will did wrong; actually Will did a great job in his absence.”

» Boynton on winning the MVP award: “It’s always great to come back home and have a great performance. This is our third year here. The first year we lost but the last years we won. I thought I played good overall, but I’m more happier with the win.”

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Boynton scores 22 as Florida routs Texas A&M

It was another happy homecoming for junior guard Kenny Boynton, who scored 22 points and earned his second-straight Orange Bowl Basketball Classic Most Valuable Player award as he led the No. 13 Florida Gators (8-2) in an 84-64 rout of the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies (8-2) in Sunrise, FL on Saturday.

Boynton’s six three-pointers led the way for the Gators, which hit 11 treys on the afternoon and reached double digits in that category for their eighth time in 10 games. Florida shot 36 percent from the line, 48 percent from the floor and – more importantly – 77 percent from the free throw line (23-of-30).

The Gators outrebounded the Aggies 30-26, the ninth time in 10 games they have accomplished that feat despite often being at a size disadvantage.

Florida opened the game with a 9-1 run and, following a Texas A&M free throw, completed another 9-0 run to take an early 18-2 advantage. The Aggies missed their first seven shots and did not hit a field goal in the first eight minutes.

A stretch of three triples (two from Boynton, one from junior forward Erik Murphy) put UF well out in front near the end of the first half, and the Gators kept the pressure on in the second half to pull out the 20-point victory.

Senior point guard Erving Walker (9-for-10 from the charity stripe) and freshman G Bradley Beal (6-for-6 from the line) each scored 16 points; Walker added six assists, while Beal grabbed four rebounds, dished three dimes and notched three steals. Murphy finished 4-of-6 with 13 points and five rebounds.

Defeating their first ranked opponent of the season in their fourth neutral site game this year, Florida returns to Gainesville, FL for a two-game home stand beginning with Mississippi Valley State on Monday. The game will air live at 7 p.m. on FOX Sports Florida (check your local listings).

FLORIDA FAN HITS $25,000 HALF-COURT SHOT
Continue Reading » Boynton scores 22 as Florida routs Texas A&M

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No. 13 Florida Gators vs. No. 22 Texas A&M

Event: 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic
Location: BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, FL [Capacity: 20,737]
Time: 2:30 p.m. (ET)

TV: FSN/Sun Sports
SiriusXM: 218/201
Live Updates: @OnlyGators (periodic score updates)

(13) FLORIDA GATORS (22) TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Billy Kennedy
Record: 7-2 Record: 8-1
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 Saturday afternoon.

Story: Florida extends Billy Donovan through 2015-16

Donovan on free throws, Boynton’s homecoming | Rider post-game notes

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida and Texas A&M are tied 1-1 in the all-time series between the two teams, each winning one game at home. This is the first time the schools will square off on a neutral court and the first time they will play at all since 1992.
» The Gators are 3-2 under Donovan against Big 12 teams and 13-10 all-time.
» Florida is 8-2 all-time in the OBBC and will be participating in the event for the 11th time in the last 12 years.
» The Gators have made a three in 660 consecutive games dating back to Jan. 1992.
» Florida has connected on 10 or more treys in six of eight games this season, failing to do so only against Syracuse and Arizona. Hitting double-digit threes in six-straight games is the longest streak under Donovan.
» Three Gators players are shooting better than 40 percent from downtown.
» UF has outrebounded eight of nine opponents this season.
» Florida is ranked No. 3 in scoring offense (86.8 points), No. 11 in scoring margin (19.6 points), No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57), No. 10 in assists (18.3) and No. 2 in three-pointers (11.3 per game) nationally as of Dec. 11. The Gators are also 317th (out of 338 teams) in free throw shooting (59.6 percent).
» UF has the second-best winning percentage against ranked opponents (.546) among SEC teams dating back to 1999-2000.
» The Gators are the first ranked opponent the Aggies have played this season.
» Texas A&M is on a six-game winning streak.
» The Aggies are ranked No. 4 in scoring defense (51.4 points), No. 2 in field goal defense (33.4 percent) and No. 4 in three-point defense (23.6 percent) nationally as of Dec. 11. Texas A&M is also No. 7 in rebounding (41.3).
» More than half of the Aggies’ points this season have come in the paint (53.1 percent).
» Texas A&M has held their last five opponents to averages of 44 points per game, 30.4 percent shooting from the floor and 17.8 percent shooting from downtown.
» The Aggies are 8-0 when leading at halftime or with five minutes to play.
» Texas A&M is 6-0 when shooting more free throws than their opponent and 7-0 when out-rebounding their opponent.
» The Aggies are 23-31 all-time against SEC schools.

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 116 consecutive games with 55-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 (3,462) and treys (236) but also ranks second in points (1,455), assists (423) and steals (134) as well as third in free throws (357). Walker is No. 12 on the school’s all-time scoring list, No. 5 in assists, No. 8 in free throws, No. 5 in threes made, No. 4 in treys attempted (619) and No. 10 in minutes. He is the only player on the team making more than three quarters of his free throws (76.3 percent).
» 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 (50.0 percent from the field and 45.7 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 (1,169) and fourth in three-pointers (184). He has hit a trey in 25-straight games.
» 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 15.1 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 45.6 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the line (second best on the team).
» Sophomore center Patric Young (#4)…who joined 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 has four double-doubles on the season and scored a career-high 25 points against Arizona. Young is posting averages of 11.6 points, 7.9 boards and 1.6 blocks per game.
» Sophomore forward Will Yeguete (#15)…who is Florida’s do-everything player, averaging 6.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.8 steals in 22.6 minutes per game. The Gators’ primary frontcourt reserve, Yeguete has been thrust into the starting lineup recently due to injury.
» 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 17.7 minutes of court time each game, averaging 9.8 points while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 37.0 percent from beyond the arc.

TEXAS A&M
» F Ray Turner (#35)…who is the Aggies tallest starter at 6’9” and is averaging 13 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 63.8 percent from the floor in 24 minutes per game. He will likely be tasked with going up against Young throughout the contest.
» F Khris Middleton (#22)…who returned to the starting lineup a week ago after missing seven games due to suffering a partially torn meniscus in the season opener. Middleton is averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 boards and a pair of assists in the two contests he played this year.
» G Elston Turner (#31)…who sees the court the most for Texas A&M, averaging 29.3 minutes per game. Turner averages 12.1 points, 3.4 boards and 2.2 dimes while shooting 40 percent from downtown and 84.6 percent from the charity stripe.

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12/15: Donovan on free throws, Boynton, Beal

With No. 13 Florida Gators basketball set to face the No. 22 Texas A&M Aggies on Saturday at the 2011 Orange Bowl Basketball Classic in Sunrise, FL, head coach Billy Donovan met with the media Thursday to discuss what preparations he and the team have been making over the last week for the squad’s next game.

ADDRESSING THE FREE THROW WOES

Donovan has been adamant over the last two weeks that he is doing whatever he can to help his players improve their free throw shooting. Having so much time off (though the Gators were studying and taking tests most of the time) has given Florida the ability to work on it even more than they normally would during a game week.

“It’s something we’ve got to get better at, something we’ve spent time on. That’s probably an area of the game we’ve maybe underachieved in right now because we have guys who are better shooters from the line than maybe what we’ve displayed up to this point in time,” he said Thursday.

“There’s certainly guys that got to go up there with more confidence and a better focus. You have to work on it. There’s nothing you can necessarily really do. If there was something you could do as a coach, every team would shoot great from the free throw line. It’s something they’ve got to really focus in on and something they’ve got to really understand the importance of. And they do. They understand that and want to get better at it. I think they’re willing to work at it. As our focus gets narrowed in that area, I’m hopeful we’ll get better there.”

Junior guard Kenny Boynton noted that Donovan has “been trying to solve it this whole week” by having the players shoot either 50 or 100 free throws after every practice. He also calls them to the line late during practice and has them shoot free throws with the threat of running suicides if a player misses one or both.

BOYNTON RETURNING HOME

A product of South Florida, Boynton loves playing in the OBBC each year as it gives his family and friends a chance to watch him on the court without having to make the trek up to Gainesville, FL.

“I got a couple people coming this year. It’s definitely a fun game going back down there. It’s right down the street from American Heritage, where I went to high school at,” he explained. “It should be fun. It definitely feels like a home game. Everyone will be there, but when we get on the court I have to just get out there and play.”

Donovan likes playing in Sunrise for a different reason.

“The one thing that’s great is that we always want to recruit Broward and Dade County. We’ve had obviously a fair number of players from that part of the state. Being able to get down there is good,” he said. “I know we’ve got a large contingency of Gator alumni and boosters that are in South Florida. Since I’ve been here, I’ve always wanted to try to play a game down there once a year because it’s been good for our program and it’s been good to be able to get down there and play.”

He’s also expecting to see the good version of Boynton on Saturday, something that was absent against Arizona but reappeared versus Rider.

“In the Arizona game, he’s 2-or-11 from the field and really hadn’t distributed the ball and made the passes that he had been doing this year. The thing that he’s got to understand is that the game is a long time; the game is a long game. If you’re efficient on offense – you take high percentage shots and you shoot a good percentage – you’re always going to have – in our style of playing – an opportunity to score,” Donovan explained.

“The thing for him to take his game to another level is to do what he did against Rider: He goes out there and shoots a high percentage from the field, he gets five or six assists and no turnovers, he plays a really good floor game and he shot the ball well. I still believe that if Kenny Boynton is not scoring and/or making shots, it is not the end of the world for him and our team because there’s so many other things he does.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» Donovan on the No. 1 thing the team needs to improve on aside from free throw shooting: “Us getting more cohesive on offense – that’s going to be important. Patric [Young]’s game against Arizona helped because I think our guys were able to see clearly – when he gets the ball with angles in the right areas to score, he can certainly score and we found him. Our guys understanding how and when to find him is important. Patric understanding when and where to throw it out of the post is important. Spacing when there’s penetration, Erving [Walker] not getting caught up in the air, us not driving the ball in too deep or taking ill advised shots.”

» Donovan on how freshman G Bradley Beal is developing: “He’s far along just because of his mental capability to be able to handle what’s being thrown at him. I do think right now there are going to be ups and downs for him because he’s a freshman and not every game is going to be perfect and ideal. He’s learned, he’s grown, he’s gotten better. He’s understanding the speed of the game; the speed of the game was probably something that was maybe a little bit surprising to him. You think you’re open and you have time to shoot the ball and those gaps close pretty quickly. The length of people running at you in relationship to maybe what was running at him in high school.”

» Beal on what has changed for him: “I’m probably not as nervous as I was. It started to come natural, and I’m starting to play within the flow of the game. I’m not really forcing anything; I’m really just relaxing and enjoying the game.”

» Beal on an adjustment he has to make: “Probably getting my shot off quicker because Coach Donovan has told me it’s taking a lot to get my shot off. Really just trying to quicken my shot, quicken my release and get the ball in the air faster.”

» Beal on if it is tough to shoot faster: “It’s pretty easy to do because you really don’t change anything. You just have to focus on jumping quicker and releasing it quicker. The form doesn’t change or anything like that. Coach Donovan said most of my shots are missed because of my legs. I’m starting to play lower to the ground and getting my legs more involved in my game.”

» Boynton on pushing the tempo against Texas A&M: “It’s definitely important. The most important thing is for us to get back on defense. We watched them play yesterday, and the coach preaches getting a good shot in the first seven seconds. They do a good job at that. I don’t think they like playing much in the half court, so we’re definitely going to try to limit their fast break possessions.”

» Boynton on Beal’s attitude this year: “His attitude has been positive since day one. I think Brad is doing a great job overall. He works hard, stays after in practice. Even when its not going his way, he keeps a positive attitude. Young players usually get down on themselves in games, and I think that’s a great thing about Brad.”

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