#21 Florida: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #4 Southeastern Conference
2009-10: 21-13, 9-7
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Billy Donovan (333-139 at Florida, 366-159 overall)
Florida finally made it back to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since their back-to-back National Championships. They backed their way into the tournament and continued those losing ways with a first round loss to BYU. Practically the same team returns, which is a good thing, but this is a group that needs to learn to win the big games.
Key Losses: G Ray Shipman, F Dan Werner
This is also a group that desperately needs depth on the perimeter. Scottie Wilbekin is not the most highly regarded recruit around; in fact he is the worst in this class according to most pundits, but he will have to play some major minutes at the one and two spots. Small forward Casey Prather has the versatility to play some minutes at the shooting guard position, but he is not much of a shooter. He will score around the basket and be a nuisance on the defensive end however. Cody Larson and Will Yeguete are a couple power forwards who will have to bide their time for now, but center Patric Young could make an impact right away. The 6-8, 224 pounder is a superb rebounder and shot blocker and will blossom into a great player once he can find the minutes.
Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton make this team tick. Walker is a speedy little point guard who is finally coming into his own running the show. When he arrived in Gainesville, he was a scorer, but now he is a point guard who can score on the side. After averaging 12.6 points and 4.9 assists last season, Walker should be in for a fine junior campaign. Boynton led Florida with 14.0 points per game and has a solid mid-range game. The problem in the backcourt is the overall shooting. This is a team that connected on a mere 31.3 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Boynton and Walker took a vast majority of those long balls and they need to start taking smarter shots or feed the big men more often if this team is going to live up to their talent.
Chandler Parsons, a 6-9 forward, may be the best outside shooter on the team. Not only is he a clutch scorer, but he connected on 35.8 percent of his attempts from long range. That is better than both Boynton and Walker. However, Parsons just does not take too many three-pointers. The Gators need him in the paint as well. Even as a part-time starter Parsons averaged 6.9 rebounds per game on top of his 12.4 points and 2.6 assists. Alex Tyus will stay under the basket more often, although he has developed a nice mid-range game throughout the years. The 6-8 senior is a tough rebounder and yet another double figure scorer. Much of the depth from the frontcourt will come from the newcomers along with sophomore Erik Murphy and junior Adam Allen, if he can get healthy.
Who to Watch:
The addition of Vernon Macklin has provided a much needed banger under the basket. Macklin is not a great rebounder, but he is a tough player and his ability to consistently score in the paint has opened up the offense. With another year of improvement, Macklin will make this already impressive starting five even better.
The depth in the frontcourt will not be a problem with the addition of Young and some other talented newcomers. However, the lack of depth in the backcourt will be a problem again this year. Wilbekin will help, but he is probably going to be another Ray Shipman, who can shoot a little better and handle the ball. Boynton and Walker both averaged nearly 33 minutes per game last year and they were tired by the end of the year. That has to change or this Florida team will start to slide down the standings again in February.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Erving Walker, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Kenny Boynton, Sophomore, Guard, 14.0 ppg
Chandler Parsons, Senior, Forward, 12.4 ppg
Alex Tyus, Senior, Forward, 11.8 ppg
Vernon Macklin, Senior, Center, 10.6 ppg
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