2010-11 Florida Media Day: Players speak, too

By Adam Silverstein
October 14, 2010

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan and a number of players represented the team at the 2010-11 Florida Media Day on Wednesday in Gainesville, FL. Read on for news and notes about the upcoming season, now from the players.


Though Donovan is trying to keep egos in check, that does not mean he wants his team to lower their expectations for the year as a whole. In fact, if you ask senior forward Chandler Parsons and junior point guard Erving Walker, nothing less than a national title is unacceptable.

“They asked me today, ‘What’s your goal?’ I said, ‘National championship.’ I don’t expect anything less,” Parsons said. “We want to win the SEC Tournament championship. That’s our goal. We want to be the best possible team that we can be. If that’s us getting to the Final Four, if that’s winning the national championship, we just want to continue to work hard every day and improve. […] I think we have what it takes. We’re experienced, we have good guards, we have size, a great coach. I don’t see why not.”

“We don’t really talk about it that much but everybody knows, a goal is everybody wants to compete in a national championship,” Walker added. “But we all know, and I know Chandler knows, it’s a process. We can’t just jump to that. I feel like we can get there. I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t. But I know we’re not there yet, there’s no need to jump to March when we’re in October. It’s definitely nice to hear [the talk].”


Sophomore shooting guard Kenny Boynton improved significantly toward the end of last season but an albatross around his neck all year was his poor shooting percentage. He made a concerted effort to work on that this offseason.

“Last year I never knew when it was going to go in, I was just shooting it,” Boynton said. “Now I know when it’s off and how long it’s going, and I think it’s just a better shot now. I feel like in workouts I’ve been knocking down my midrange shot a lot. That was definitely a big thing I wanted to work at.”

Boynton now releases the ball “more in front of my head”. He has seen an increase in control and accuracy.

“I learned that you gotta put a lot of work into this,” he said. “It’s not just going and taking shots. It’s watching film, it’s studying the guys that you’re playing against. It’s mentally going into the game and being prepared, knowing that it’s more than just basketball.”

Read the rest of this recap of the players’ media availabilities…after the break!


Freshman power forward Patric Young is strong. Strong and athletic. Athletic and intense. Intense and coachable. Young is everything Donovan likes in a frontcourt player and more, and he is already making a big impression on his new teammates.

“He’s real physical,” redshirt senior forward/center Vernon Macklin said. “He’s a big guy, so we do a lot of bumping. Coach Donovan even made a statement this is the most physical he’s seen me play this year, being physical day in and day out.” A fellow freshman agrees. “Patric Young – it’s a brick wall I’m going up against every day,” F Cody Larson added.

Young realizes his strength and physicality are major assets to the team and is willing to do what he can to help from the get-go.

“I don’t think I need to worry about scoring as much, it’s more about defending. We have the best shooters possibly in the SEC with Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. Those two can really shoot the ball. And then we got [redshirt junior transfer G] Mike Rosario coming in next year, and he’s shown me that he can shoot the ball,” Young said. “I see myself as an energy guy. Wherever coach wants to play me, I’m really just looking forward to coming and having an impact, doing whatever I can.”

“I need to bring that level of physicality because that’s basically what I’m known for, is being a real physical guy who’s going to come in there and do the dirty work,” he added. “I love contact, I do love contact. That’s just what I think basketball is: It’s a contact sport. So why not go out there and hit everybody first?”

He does, however, disagree that he’s been getting the best of his teammates in practice. “First off Vernon’s been kicking my butt since I got here. I’ve been humbled down a lot,” Young said. “I learned that the speed of the game is a lot faster, you gotta take your time in the post and [know] that your offensive game is going to develop, you have to just keep working on it.”


Each freshman was asked how he felt about finally being able to practice with the Gators and don the Orange & Blue. Here is what some of them had to say:

PG Scottie Wilbekin: “I can’t wait, man. Putting on these jerseys was already exciting. I can’t wait till we get to go out there and hear ‘Hereeeeeeeeee come the Gators.’ That’s the thing I’m waiting for the most.”

Young: “I’m so excited. You don’t even know. I’ve been waiting for this all my life. My dream’s finally coming to reality starting with that first practice this Friday.”

Larson: “I’m real excited. Nervous, excited, anxious, everything kind of rolled into one.”

G/F Casey Prather: “I’m really excited, ready to do it. Ready to get a win and carry on to the season.”


Parsons on being a leader: “As a senior and a leader of the team I’m going to lead by example. Every day I’m not going to let these guys take a day off. I’m going to push them every single play. On the court and off the court. I’m going to make sure these guys are doing the right things off the court. Be a vocal leader. I’ve been in their shoes before so I just want to be a role model for these guys.”

Parsons on the team’s possibilities: “I think we have what it takes. I think we’re experienced. I think we have good guards. I think we have size, great coach. I don’t see why not.”

Parsons on how to recover from poor shooting: “We want to be able to win games when we have bad shooting nights. When the ball is not going in the hole, we still want to find a way to pull it out in tough, physical ways.”

Parsons on his first few years on the team: “Coming to college you always dream about March Madness, getting a national championship. [Not having depth] was the hand we were dealt. We had six guys go to the NBA right when we came in here, we were young.

Parsons on 2009-10 vs. 2010-11 team: “That’s totally different from what we have this year. We have an experienced team and that’s something that you can’t teach. I think last year we got a taste of the NCAA Tournament, which really helped us, but we’re not content with just getting there.”

Parsons on expectations: “Expectations are preseason. No one has done anything. It’s strictly based off last year, so I think we enjoy the fact we’re getting a little respect this year but at the same time we understand that it doesn’t really mean anything until we go out on the court and perform.”

Boynton on getting better this summer: “My main focus was working on finishing around the rim, improving my mid-range and just consistently improving my percentage. A lot of spot shooting.”

Boynton on how the freshmen can be successful: “Come out every day, work hard, listen to Coach Donovan and everything else will just fall into place.”

Boynton on what fans should look for: “Gator fans should come out and see the best team in the country play. I think we’re going to bring what football has brought to this city. Gator basketball is back.”

Macklin on the team: “The freshman guys are ready to come in and work. We’re older, more mature, and we’re just ready to get the show on the road.”

Macklin on what the team is working on: “Pressing. We’re going to do a lot of pressing because we have a lot of depth now. We got guys like Casey and Scottie coming in and playing defense at the top of the press.”

Walker on being a junior: “Time is moving fast, that’s why we just gotta make the most of it and complete our goals this year.”

Walker on how veterans help the youngsters: “Just lead by example. Practice, work extra hard, talk, I know that was one of my downfalls when I was a freshman and sophomore.”

Walker on the hype: “As a group we haven’t proved anything. We made the NCAA Tournament last year and got knocked out in the first round. We know we can be good but we’re not there yet so far.”

Young on comparisons to Al Horford: “They told me I’m a little bit bigger than he was when he got here.”

Young on his strength: “I’m definitely the strongest guy on the team right now. They call me Karl Malone, Dwight Howard. They tell me I need to stop lifting weights so much and start stretching more.”

Young on how strong he is: “I can probably bench [Erving Walker] once and just throw him out of the building.”

Young on the team as a whole: “This is going to be one of coach Donovan’s greatest years, and I think we’re going to perform to a very high level. These guys, we work so hard and we’re pushing each other to be at that top level, that Final Four level again.”

Senior F Alex Tyus on the frontcourt: “If a team is really physical or has two big guys, we can adjust that. If we have a team with athletic guys, we can adjust to that. We can play with different styles. I feel like that will help us.”

Tyus on testing the NBA: “There was no reason [to leave]. I really didn’t have a plan on leaving. I wanted to get workouts in, get experience and see where I would be going, I guess get the jitters out a year early as far as this is my last year and having to play professionally somewhere.”

Tyus on the team’s depth: “Every great team needs a great bench. In order to win everything that we want to accomplish we’re going to need them. Being able to press more, get up and down the floor, hopefully score more and look more like a fun, enjoying team to watch. I think if we get great bench play we’re going to be able to do that.”

Rosario on his goals while sitting out a year: “My main goal this year is to get stronger – that’s one of my weaknesses – and just to work on my game, get better and make my teammates better. I want to try to help the young guys out with my experience, help the freshmen get to where they have to go. I feel like that’s my responsibility this year.”

Sophomore F Erik Murphy on shooting from downtown: “In high school, I used to shoot a lot of threes. I didn’t do it a lot last year but I was in the gym still working on it. This whole summer I’ve been working on it so I feel confident in it.”

Prather on his freshman class: “We’re very tight, we’re very close. We’re like a family already.”

Larson on his freshman class: “All five freshman have bonded pretty well, we’ve kind of grown a great chemistry together.”

Freshman F Will Yeguete on his talents: “I bring hard work. I rebound really well and I just play hard, that’s the kind of player I am. Kind of do the dirty work.”

Special thanks to The Gainesville Sun, Independent Florida Alligator, The Miami Herald and Florida Today for many of the above quotations.

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