Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, one day before the team hit the road for its second game of the 2013-14 season against the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, WI, on Tuesday at 9 p.m.
Senior forward Will Yeguete (knee) and junior transfer guard Eli Carter (leg) remain hobbled by injuries but will still be suiting up for the Gators on Tuesday. While Yeguete looked shaky but capable in Florida’s season opener, Carter was barely able to get anything going until hitting a three-pointer late in the game.
“Will, in my opinion, is progressing at a better rate than Eli is,” Donovan explained. “Eli is the one guy that we probably have gotten to a bit of a standstill with him physically. Where he’s probably made some good growth and then he’s kind of leveled off right now. The biggest problem for him, which I’m noticing is a major problem, and it kind of puts us in harm’s way from a defensive standpoint, is he’s having a very, very difficult time starting and stopping. When he’s stopped and he’s got to explode, it take shim a while to get going. We’re hopeful that he can somehow continue to work through this and he can make some good, positive strides and get better.
“Will’s situation is much, much more strength issue. His whole strength is not back yet. … He seemed off-balance to me a lot [in the opener]. … He’s got to get his strength back. Those two guys, their injuries are healed. They’re just lacking strength right now. That’s the biggest issue with those two guys.”
Those two are not the only limited players, however, as sophomore G Michael Frazier II is still working his way back after a bout of mononucleosis. Frazier admitted Monday that he is not yet 100 percent, and Donovan explained that the player has been limited in practice but will likely start against Wisconsin.
“There is a little bit of a concern about him relapsing, and they’re being careful,” he said. “He’s fully cleared to play and healthy right now, but I think what they worry about is … too much could put him into a situation where we set him back.”
ANOTHER SUSPENSION UPDATE
Though injuries will not keep anyone out of action, three other Gators – senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, redshirt junior center Damontre Harris and redshirt sophomore G/F Dorian Finney-Smith – will miss the game due to suspension. Donovan did not provide much of an update on the three.
“Those guys are not playing [Tuesday] and they still got stuff that they’ve got to do. We’ll address those guys as each game comes forward,” he said. “After this game, I could probably see where there are things those guys are needing to get done. I don’t want to come out here and project the future, say something that I got to take back.
“I think what I’ve always tried to do is just be honest with the next thing that is in front of us. All I can tell you is right now, going into this game, those three guys are not playing and when they will be back is still up in the air.”
Chances are that both Harris and Finney-Smith will be reinstated before Florida’s next game. It is expected that Wilbekin’s suspension will last a maximum of six games, meaning he is still likely 1-2 weeks away from seeing action in a game.
Frazier said the three suspended players are still practicing but serving as the scout team in order to help UF prepare for upcoming opponents. Senior F Casey Prather called that unit “maybe the best scout team in the country” on Tuesday.
Continue Reading » 11/11: Donovan updates Florida’s injuries and suspensions, talks preparing for Wisconsin