Posted by Brian Joyce on September 10th, 2012
Let’s finish these off this week with the last few of what we’re calling it Transition Basketball, an offseason look at each of the 14 SEC basketball programs. Today’s update: Florida.
State of the Program
Billy Donovan has elevated the Florida program to the status of perennial contender and national powerhouse. Once again last season, his stockpile of talent and aggressive non-conference scheduling paid off. Despite early season losses to Ohio State and Syracuse, the Gators’ high-powered offense tested themselves on the road in some of the most hostile environments but demonstrated improvement throughout the experience. In the end, it was worth it. Though struggling on the defensive end of the court for most of the year, the Gators marched all the way to the Elite Eight, only a couple of made baskets away from another Final Four. But this should almost be expected by now, as Donovan took Florida to the Elite Eight just one year before and won championships in the back-to-back years of 2006 and 2007.
Patric Young will be a beast down low for opposing SEC frontlines this season (Getty)
The scary part is that Donovan has the firepower to make a similar run again this season. Improvement is evident in returning players Kenny Boynton, who is back with his 15.9 points per game at guard, and forward/center Patric Young who brings his 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game back to the low post. Boynton improved his overall field goal percentage from 38.5 percent in 2010-11 to 44.0 percent last year, and his shooting from beyond the arc by seven percent last season. Smooth shooting wing Erik Murphy averaged over 10 points per game last season on 42.1 percent shooting from outside, providing additional stability on the offensive end for the Gators. Will Yeguete returns from injury to improve on his 6.3 rebounds per game. Mike Rosario could make the leap this year from role player to a more significant part of the Florida offense. The transfer from Rutgers averaged over 16 points per game in each of his first two seasons for the Scarlet Knights, but dipped to just 6.6 points per game in his first year with the Gators. He could be called upon to do more in his senior year. It might also be a case of addition by subtraction for Florida as senior guard Erving Walker had never seen a shot he wasn’t willing to take. His 39.4 percent field goal shooting and 2.1 turnovers per game hurt the Gators just as often as he helped.
Read the rest of this entry »