The Three Part Plan to Better Passing
The Florida Gators Basketball team defeated Navy in their season opener 59-41 last Friday night, but there is plenty to work on in preparation for Florida’s first home game of the season. With the game against North Carolina A&T coming up, Coach White was quick to dismiss it as a game that the team will just play to “hold on” and not take them seriously. He added that A&T is going to be “unpredictable somewhat” and that the Gators are going go in “respecting our opponent” and focusing on “getting better.”
One aspect of Florida’s play that needs to get better fast is passing. If they can fix this, they won’t turn the ball over and waste scoring opportunities. They will need to clean this up against “big” and “little” opponents alike to ensure they don’t end up on the losing side of a lot of one-possession affairs.
Fortunately, the Florida Gators have the man who coached “the guy who led the nation in assists” last year at the helm. If there is anyone who can get his team to pass more effectively around the offensive glass, it’s Coach White. White also noted three ways in which the Gators are going to work on their passing game.
“When We’re Open”
“We just have to value the ball,” said Florida guard Kasey Hill. Coach White has discussed this often in the past and at least the players seem to know it. They just have to be smarter about when they are passing the ball. As White said, “I don’t want anyone to think we have selfishness creeping in.” They have been passing the ball early and often, but just not always at the right time.
“Just slow down.” That was Hill’s message in reference to passing and to turnovers. Hill stressed that “the pace that [Coach White] wants us to play at” is causing them to turn the ball over since they are not completely used to it yet. As stated in the first point, they just “have to make smarter passes.” If they can find a way to balance their hair-on-fire tempo with well-timed and well-executed passes, they could have at least as much success as Coach White’s team last year at Louisiana Tech with the fast paced tempo.
Asked whether the post feeds have been poor passes or poor targets, Hill remarked that it was the passes which were off. “Just rushed kinda, like straight bullets instead of throwing it up and letting them go catch it, just throwing it too fast in to them.” Considering that center John Egbunu has drawn rave reviews and forward Devin Robinson is “easy to get the ball to,” the final piece of the puzzle is just getting it to your playmakers. It sounds simple enough, but Florida has to clean up the fundamentals to give this reclamation project a full head of steam going into the future.
There is still a lot of work to do, but Coach White and his staff have implemented a new, fun, fast scheme with a great amount of young talent on the team. Some of the little things, like the specifics of passing, need to be cleaned up and this team could go far.