Scouting the Five: Florida Gators

Thomas Beisnerover 11 years


Aritcle written by:Thomas BeisnerThomas Beisner
**Before he took the solemn vows of initiation at The Brown Tweed Society, Evan Hilbert and I enjoyed some good times at and here at Kentucky Sports Radio. I liked the way he laughed, his firm embrace and, mostly, his preview of the starting lineups of opposing basketball teams. So, just like the bat signal, I'll be posting these each game, hoping that it brings Evan home. donovan-bobble-heads It wasn't exactly smooth sailing in the Cats' first SEC game as the Georgia Bulldogs gave them all they could handle before pulling out Coach Cal's first SEC win.  On this Super Tuesday, though, the Cats will head to Gainesville and the much over-hyped O'Connell Center (seriously, the place is more quaint than hostile) for their first SEC road test against the Florida Gators.  For the Gators, those fluky national championships couldn't seem any further away than they do right now as Billy Donovan has his team on pace to be his 12th team to fail to make it past the first weekend of the tournament or end up in the NIT or postseason-less in 16 years as a head coach.  This team is much like the ones not featuring Noah and Horford and Brewer, mixing a number of top prospects at various points of their college career who have failed to progress even the slightest under his tutelage.  Seriously, how did he win two national titles?  This edition of Billy's squad breezed through an early schedule and even beat Michigan State, rising from the ashes of unranked and a pre-season prediction of 5th in the SEC East to a top-10 spot.  But, in typical Florida fashion, three consecutive losses to powerhouses Syracuse, Richmond and South Alabama sent the Gators back to the bowels of the unranked.  They put together a three-game cupcake (yes, you too, NC State - on a 70 foot buzzer beater) before falling in their SEC opener at Vandy.  Tonight, they have the unfortunate task of slowing down half the NBA Draft lottery.  It's gametime! Here are the starters... erving-walker #11  Erving Walker, 5-8, G, Sophomore 2009-10 stats: 11.5 ppg, 5.0 apg, 3.1 rpg, 33% from the field, 32% from three You might ask yourself this evening why Florida only starts four players.  In truth, the start four and a half, but you probably didn't see Erving Walker behind the little boy with the towel broom.  Walker is essentially the only point guard on the roster and, coming off of a career-high 22 against Vandy,  will be on the court for about 35 minutes tonight.  Despite his size (or lack thereof), he has managed to take over for Nick Calathes on Florida's patented pick and roll, though his shot is shot is more broke than your ex-favorite blogger is following child birth.  He's not dumb enough to attack John Wall one-on-one, but watch for Florida to try to lure UK's big guys into foul trouble off the pick and roll by using Walker's quickness to attack a big guy if they switch or get a little space for wittle Kenny to get into the paint.  If Wall or Bledsoe can bait him into a few fouls by going after him on offense early, Florida's offense craps out. kenny-boynton #1  Kenny Boynton, 6-2, G, Freshman 2009-10 stats: 14.6 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.3 rpg, 38% from field, 28% from three Oh, Kenny Boynton.  Boynton was a McDonald's All-American last year and has made an impact this season for the backcourt-challenged Gators, leading the team in scoring and minutes (tied with Walker).  But, he's struggling with his shot (though he did have a career-best 28 against Vandy on Saturday) and shot selection and the likely punishment he will endure tonight for this comment in July:
 “To tell you the truth, I’ve thought about it and on paper they look good, but I think we match up with them. I think we have a better team. It’s going to be a real good game when we play, but I don’t think they’re as good as everyone says they are.”
Good luck with that, Kenny. alex-tyus #23  Alex Tyus, 6-8, F, Junior 2009-10 stats: 11.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.3 apg, 53% from the field Tyus, the leading returning scorer and rebounder, showed he was as much a Gator as Billy Donovan and Urban Meyer this summer by announcing he was transferring and then changing his mind and returning.  Forced into playing center last season, the athletic junior has been allowed to slide over to his more natural forward spot this year and has responded by getting statistically worse in every category except rebounds, where he's up .2 per game.  Also, Coach Cal took the team to see Avatar on Tyus' forehead last night. dan-werner #21  Dan Werner, 6-8, F, Senior 2009-10 stats: 6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 40% from the field, 35% from three Dan Werner holds a special place in all of our hearts as one of the prominent names from KSR's illustrious past.  When he rocketed to an inflated status as one of the few players left late in the spring of 2006 following his de-commitment from NC State, many Kentucky fans prayed that he would bring his inside-outside game to Kentucky.  In hindsight, many Florida fans wish he would have chosen Kentucky too.  Werner has become the Bizarro Tebow on Florida's campus.  If you asked 100 Gator fans which college basketball player they hated most, 75 would say "What is college basketball?" and the rest would pick their own Dan Werner.  After putting up worse numbers as a junior than he did as a sophomore, he's again lowered the bar, putting up the worst numbers since his freshman year.  And he's logging the most minutes of his career.  Production!  SIDE NOTE:  My Gainesville friend claims (with a straight face) that Werner wears a shirt of himself around campus.  vernon-macklin  #32  Vernon Macklin, 6-10, F, Junior 2009-10 stats: 10.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.0 apg, 61% from the field The former five-star recruit transferred from Georgetown and was billed as the missing piece of the Gator resurgence.  In his first season of eligibility, he's played fairly well, but hasn't been the star most expected.  Macklin struggled heavily against Vandy's not-so-formidable big guys, fouling out in only 14 minutes with 2 points and 1 rebound, and put up underwhelming 7.5 ppg and 4.5 rpg against Michigan State and Syracuse.  When he gets the ball inside, however, he is a load.  DeMarcus Cousins will probably destroy him by halftime. Bench - Chandler Parsons: Nick Calathes' former high school teammate/lover logs 27 minutes off the bench, playing all three forward spots and humming "Party in the USA" all the way (seriously, it's his favorite song, but I think he changes the words to "Party in the NIT").  He's been a chameleon  of sorts since arriving in Gainesville as the #19 player in the country (ahead of names like Blake Griffin, Jonny Flynn, Kalin Lucas, Cole Aldrich and Evan Turner), trying to make facials trendy as a freshman (with Jai Lucas) and by shaving three lines in his hair as a sophomore.  This year, he's chosen to look like a 6'9" lesbian.  - Nimrod Tishman: A late addition to Florida's meager 2009 class, the 6'6" Israeli point guard would like you to call him "Rod" instead of "Nimrod".  NBA scouts might not be high on him, but the name flexibility makes him a great candidate to work at Hewlett-Packard's customer support team...which I believe is a better post-Gator career than Teddy Dupay.  Only logs about 2 minutes, so he probably shouldn't be on here. - Ray Shipman: This 6'5" sophomore is basically the only guard that will see significant action off the bench.  Boynton will shift to the point when Shipman enters the game as a shooting guard who can't really shoot.  Like most of his teammates, though, he was a pretty highly regarded recruit before fading like a fart in the wind in Gainesville. - Erik Murphy:  Sucks.  Will oaf around the paint for about 10 minutes though and burn fouls, finish pretty well inside and clank baseline jumpers. - Asst. Coach Richard Pitino: Not aborted. Notes: Kentucky leads the all-time series 86-32....Florida, though, has won 8 of the last 10....The Gators have five players averaging double figures in points....When the Gators beat Michigan State this year, they were ranked #2....Over the past 5 years, Florida is 104-11  when holding opponents under 70....Coach Cal is one of three coaches (Frank McGuire & Honorable Eddie Sutton) to lead three teams to a #2 ranking....John Wall is second nationally with 7.1 apg....Patrick Patterson is seventh in the nation with 62.9% from the field....The Cats have out-dunked opponents 82-22....UK has been led in scoring by a newcomer 15 times this year (Patterson has 4, some of them ties)....Cal is 1-0 against Florida....The ESPN crew for the game is Brad Nessler, Dick Vitale and Erin can see Erin Andews' nudie video wife asked yesterday if I was still going to the game, I thought it was a trick and wussed out....I am quite embarrassed about this....Go Cats!

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