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    Florida Gators commits during the Alabama vs Miss game- GatorCountry photo by Kassidy Hill

Podcast: Talking Florida
Gators basketball and recruiting

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Written by Andrew Spivey, December 14, 2015, 0 Comments,
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This edition of the Gator Country podcast brings you  updates on the Florida Gators commits that played in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game on Saturday afternoon in Mississippi.

Andrew Spivey is joined by Kassidy Hill on this edition of the GC podcast as she talks about the Florida Gators basketball team as well as what she witnessed on Saturday from the Florida Gators commits.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey. Back, I don’t have Nicholas de la Torre with me. I got my home girl, Kassidy. Kassidy, say hello to the people.

Kassidy:                 No worries. This is definitely an upgrade. This is our Christmas gift to the Gator Country fans. They get me today.

Andrew:                 She definitely can’t stay up to the goat status. As you people know if you watch us on Twitter yesterday, I was upgraded to a five star, so that means I got a five star ego now.

Kassidy:                 Loosely given five star. I can say that the ego really did grow with it. I had to deal with it the whole way home.

Andrew:                 There you go. Kassidy, we got to watch the Alabama/Mississippi All Star game yesterday. A couple of good players in the game. Mississippi kind of came out and got the W by some pitiful coaching from the Alabama squad, but we won’t talk about that. Overall, what did you make of the day from a couple of those Gator commits? I know one guy kind of had your eye the whole day.

Kassidy:                 There were several of them that did really well, and I think I even still have my list here of the Gator commits that were in the game. Jawaan Taylor, Lamical Perine, Jeremiah Moon, and Quincy Litton, all of them were impressive. I was really impressed with Jeremiah Moon. He’s very quick off the block. He has that wingspan that reminds me a lot of Alex McAlister. He needs to put on a little bit more weight, but, man, he’s just a freak. When he comes around the edge you just want to get out of his way. I do not envy future SEC quarterbacks if they’re going to have to face this guy. Florida’s going to continue their edge rushing status that they have created over the past couple years by bringing in that guy. He was really impressive.

Perine as well. I know that’s your guy, Andrew. I started to see why yesterday. He wasn’t used a whole lot. That was part of the pitiful coaching that we’re not going to talk about, but when he was used he definitely made the most of his carries. He broke off one big run where he just pushed through to get to the second level. They used him on some returns as well. That wasn’t something I was expecting. So that was a nice little surprise to see.

Andrew:                 He only had six carries in the game, but he broke a long 48 yarder with a nice little stiff arm. If Lamical’s listening to this, work on your speed, big dog. It was a good game.

Kassidy:                 I went back and looked at the pictures, and I found one where he was looking back at the defenders, and I was like, that’s the first rule of running, never look back. Never look back.

Andrew:                 Never look back. They definitely had the angle on him. I want to kind of say exactly what you said, mirror what you said on Moon. Moon’s a guy that probably doesn’t get the notoriety that a lot of these other guys do, because of him playing in Hoover, but he’s a guy that has that, I watched Brian Burns a lot, and I like Brian Burns.

Kassidy:                 I love Brian Burns, yes. I with you there.

Andrew:                 I think Moon’s definitely going to be a linebacker, but he has that burst that Brian Burns does off that line. The thing that I guess surprised me with Moon was how athletic he was in space. There was a couple plays that I remember quite well yesterday where he was in open space with the running back one on one, and made good plays in space. 210, 215 he’s a guy that’s going to be 235 easy and play outside linebacker. I think the biggest thing that I think I can compare him to is a bigger Jeremy Powell off that Sam linebacker position like Matt Rolin’s playing right now. That’s kind of where my comparison goes for him. Then I still stick with Brian Burns being the McAlister guy. Get both. Have plenty of rushing off the edge.

Kassidy:                 Yeah. That’s a very good point. I guess just because I’ve become so infatuated with the was this Florida defense uses edge rushers so well. In my opinion they use them better than almost any other school in the country. So that was the first thought I had with Jeremiah Moon was another pass rusher. I start getting greedy, and I just want them all. He did very well when he dropped back. He could drop back as a linebacker, like you said, he covered very well, and he made the most of every time he was on the field. It was just really impressive overall every time he was on the field.

Andrew:                 That’s kind of what I was going to say. He’s a guy in this defense that kind of predicates on that outside linebacker being able to rush the passer as well as get back into coverage. He kind of fits that perfectly in that position. It’s a good player there. A guy that I actually liked a lot and was impressed with probably more so than anybody was Quincy Litton. I went back and was watching a little bit. His hip fluid is great. He can flip those hips in a heartbeat at safety and at corner, but probably the biggest thing is his mental makeup is incredible for him. Safety, corner, whatever it is he’s going to be a big time player.

Kassidy:                 Quincy Litton, not only was he great on the field, he was a hoot off of it. That’s probably my favorite thing about these events is just getting to know these guys when they take the helmet off. I know that’s why you like to do recruiting as well. I really liked Litton a lot. He’s going to fit in well with that defense and the kind of, I don’t want to say reputation, that seems to have a negative connotation, but the sort of attitude that this defense has created over the past few years. Litton’s going to fit right into it. He’s got that little bit of cockiness. If he breaks up a pass he’s going to let you know about it.

Andrew:                 Him and Chauncey Gardner will be best friends.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. Yes. It takes a lot to live up to Chauncey’s…

Andrew:                 Arrogance?

Kassidy:                 I was trying to find a good word for it. I love it about Chauncey, but if you don’t know Chauncey and you hear those words, you get a bad feeling about him, but, no, he pulls it off. Quincy Litton’s going to be able to stay right there with him. So that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch them the next couple years.

Andrew:                 We’ve all been accustomed to Vernon and his trash talking, but Quincy and Chauncey may take it up a level. Then speaking of another guy, Jawaan Taylor. He’s going to let you know how good he is as well. He’s a guy that a lot of people kind of figured, he’s just a guy from Montgomery to get Mack Wilson. He actually played pretty well yesterday at free safety. Couple missed tackles in the game, but the one thing that I noticed about him was he had a little bit of that Kiki, Keanu Neal, in him that he was able to fill them rushing gaps, the run gaps, very well from his safety spot. Covered the ball well as well on the little short intermediate routes for him. Needs to grow a little bit, probably needs to mature in his body a little bit from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint, but he’s just a guy in my opinion that has the ability that it’s not going to take long for him to get there. Litton’s probably a year ahead of Taylor as far as that goes, but Taylor’s no slouch in his own means.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. It’s interesting that you compared him to Kiki, because that was something that he talked to me about after the game is that is the sort of position and situation he would like to be used in, the way they sort of have alternated Kiki and Brian Poole, and even Marcus Maye a little bit. That’s something that Taylor sees himself doing at Florida.

Andrew:                 The thing probably that I think you and I both can agree on is these guys have grown together, especially Taylor, Moon, and Perine, almost a family in general, and it’ll probably be something that’ll help these three guys when they get to Florida, because they’re 4 or 5 hours away from home. They’re going to have now three good friends, or two good friends, in Gainesville with them. I know Lamical specifically spoke to me about that and how they’ve gotten close with them. I think that’s the biggest thing. They were all together, sharing Gator gear all at the games. So that was big for me to see that kind of family atmosphere between the three guys.

Kassidy:                 You said three, and then changed it to two. That may have been a Freudian slip, because it could be three, because those three guys together have fully taken on the role of ganging up on Mack Wilson and bringing him to Florida with them. They understand their job. They have embraced it. That was something that, especially Lamical was talking to me about yesterday. They’re going hard after Mack Wilson. They may be the biggest recruiters of the guy right now.

Andrew:                 You were there. You heard Jawaan and Lamical talking about it. I specifically asked them both. I said, “Give me the truth. Is Mack Wilson trolling Florida?” Their answer was? “No.”

Kassidy:                 No.

Andrew:                 That’s kind of what they both said. Jawaan said, “I think he’s 50/50 right now.” He said, “I think part of him wants to go to Florida, and the other part of him wants to go to Alabama.” Then he even said that maybe Georgia has replaced Alabama now that Kirby Smart’s there. The people on Twitter who believe it’s a troll job, I would say kind of step back a little bit. Maybe it’s not as big of a troll job as you think. One guy, and this is something I wanted to hit on real quick is a guy that maybe we didn’t talk about because he’s not a Gator commit is Marlin Davidson, the defensive tackle that’s going to Auburn. In my opinion that guy is going to be a big time football player. He has that Jonathan Bullard esque about him. He’s just a big time player on that defensive line, and looked good yesterday.

Kassidy:                 I didn’t watch much of him. I think you probably watched that a little bit more than I did. I’m going to take your word for it.

Andrew:                 You couldn’t get your eyes off of how bad the coaching job was going.

Kassidy:                 That’s true. You know, someone that I did watch that is not a Gator commit, but that I was real impressed with, was DK Metcalf, and I think you were also impressed with Arthur Brown. They were both wide receivers on the Mississippi team. We kind of went back and forth during the game a little bit. You were like, that was my guy that made that catch. That was my guy that made that catch. Then they ended up being co MVPs for the Mississippi team.

Andrew:                 Don’t try to get on my goat status by bringing up your guy. People, let her know what’s up.

Kassidy:                 I liked DK a lot. He was impressive. He had a little one handed catch down there on like the 1 yard line that was, I don’t want to say O’Dell-ish, but it sort of was.

Andrew:                 No O’Dell. O’Dell’s a goat like myself, and we don’t allow just anybody to get on that goal level. I think probably the thing that you noticed the best was that the talent level that these two states are now pulling in is starting to become really good. Five years ago, six years ago, it was probably 10-15 guys in each state that were good. I think now you can kind of go about and there’s probably 25-30 good players on each team that are good enough. You think about a guy like Ben Davis, the linebacker, took the pick six. Probably going to Alabama, but he might have been the best player on the team, and he’s a guy that didn’t even get talked about a ton during the game.

Kassidy:                 He was very impressive. I think he was actually the MVP for the Alabama team as well.

Andrew:                 That’s just because he didn’t feed the ball to the offense.

Kassidy:                 It seemed like a good portion of the tackles, then like you said, that pick six, Ben Davis had his name right there with it. The PA announcer probably got tired of saying the name Ben Davis, but he was all over the place. He was impressive. You follow these guys a lot longer than I do, so you’ve kind of seen them grow. Just to see them all out on the field together yesterday, you’re right. There’s a lot of talent coming out of these two states now. I’m born and raised Alabama, so proud of it. I’ve always thought Alabama had great talent. Part of the tradition of Alabama is to knock on Mississippi, but I got to hand it to Mississippi. They put a lot of good players on the field yesterday as well.

Andrew:                 We’ll just say it was bad coaching. That’s kind of where it is.

Kassidy:                 That can be the excuse for everything.

Andrew:                 There it is. They don’t feed the ball to 26 in Perine. You’re crazy. Let’s kind of change gears here a little bit. Gators play Michigan State last night in East Lansing. I think it was a game, I think I told you on the way home, I was like this is going to be a blowout. We get back, it’s half time, and it’s 27-25. The final score maybe didn’t end as close as the scoreboard should. Scoreboard was probably a little off. It was 58-52, Michigan State wins, but it was a game that really had Florida not had three straight turnovers in the last 2 minutes of the game could have been either way. You’ve seen this team way more than I have. Was that a game just strictly they played up to their ability, or is that a game that you could see this team starting to kind of shake form? Has the last couple games started to get this way, despite the two game losing streak? Where is this team just in general?

Kassidy:                 To answer your question. Both. It was both of those things. They definitely played up to it. They were playing the #1 team in the country, undefeated team. They were playing in East Lansing, which had a great atmosphere going on in that game yesterday. I don’t know if you got to see it. That was a great atmosphere. You could tell even through the TV. They did play up to it, but at the same time we started to see a lot of things click together that we’ve seen flashes of throughout the 9 games, and they started to put a lot of it together yesterday. You start putting enough sparks together you’re going to get a little bit of a fire. They started to catch fire yesterday. I think there’s a lot of encouraging things that can come from the game.

Then again, at the end of the day it was still a loss, and you have to figure out why. Like you mentioned, there were three turnovers within three minutes, and in the last 5:40 of that game they only scored one field goal, and it was off of Kasey Hill fast break with 55 seconds left. It was just sort of a give me basket more than anything. Only one field goal in the last 5 minutes and 40 seconds of the game? It’s a six point game, and at that 5:40 mark it was only a two point game. So there was still plenty of time to come back and swing it in Florida’s direction to take that game, to get that signature win that they’ve been looking for, and they just sort of fell flat.

Andrew:                 Do you think that’s more of a testament to this team kind of being, with the exception of Egbunu and Dodo, it’s a young basketball team.

Kassidy:                 Right.

Andrew:                 Do you think it’s kind of a sort of that, or do you think it’s, I don’t know. Where do you stand?

Kassidy:                 I think you just said the keyword, Egbunu. Egbunu had fouled out by that point.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Kassidy:                 That makes a huge difference, because he has been such a presence under the basket both on offense and defense. He’s brought a lot of energy. Egbunu, Dodo. Dodo more just by necessity than anything, but Egbunu, Dodo, and Brandone Francis-Ramirez bring more energy to that court than anyone else on the team. Except for maybe Alex Murphy, who is still regulated to the bench while he recovers. Those three bring a lot, and Dodo, he’s out there. He does his job, and he brings energy. He knows his job, and he knows when to bring energy and when to dial back and kind of let the rest of the team take it. Brandone Francis-Ramirez is just a ball of fire, like running all over the court, but he’s still working on getting some of his offensive game together.

Egbunu has put it all together. He has the energy. He has the defense. He has the offense. When he fouled out that deflated the team probably more than anything else. That’s something that’s not going to show up in a stat sheet necessarily, and it made a big difference when he was off the court. I think that may have been the difference in the last few minutes is just not having him out there to keep them pumped up, to be that presence under the basket to kind of keep things moving. He’s a huge difference maker for this team. Like you said, other than him and Dodo it is still a very young team, except for maybe Kasey Hill, who’s a junior.

Andrew:                 Who did have a good game yesterday.

Kassidy:                 Who had a good game.

Andrew:                 I am the most critical of him, but he had a good game.

Kassidy:                 That was something else.

Andrew:                 Was it Chiozza stepping in to start it over him?

Kassidy:                 Yes. Let me tell you something interesting about Kasey not getting the start, and I thought this was very indicative of character that, to be honest, and this is not a knock on Kasey, but we haven’t seen this sort of character from Kasey in the whole time he’s been here. He asked Mike White to sit him.

Andrew:                 Interesting. What do you make of that?

Kassidy:                 He told Mike White that he thought it would be better for the team if he did not start, and Mike White said after the game, “I don’t think I’ve seen that in 16 years of coaching.” He’s probably right, and he may not see it again for another 16 years. The fact that Kasey went to Mike White and said, “Don’t start me. Sit me.” That says a lot about Kasey, and he knew that he had not been giving this team what he should have. To be honest, it was obvious.

Andrew:                 I think that’s what I was about to say. It’s a thing of yesterday you see Chiozza, when Michigan State was backing off of him Chiozza’s able to hit the jump shot. Kasey Hill’s not able to hit that jump shot, and the thing that makes Kasey Hill’s game so good, or should make his game so good, is his ability to drive to the hole, but he’s been able to finish right now, and I think it’s becoming a mental thing with Kasey.

Kassidy:                 Exactly.

Andrew:                 Not being able to finish. Let’s turn real quick. Defensively thought, I mean Florida played pretty well defensively in the game for the most part, and I think maybe it’s finally starting to, they’re starting to gel defensively with Mike White’s new system. I guess, what do you see of that? Egbunu being out at the end of the game was also a shot blocker they didn’t have for the big guy of Michigan State.

Kassidy:                 I think Dodo said it so much. I like hear it on repeat. It’s like a broken record. He said it over and over, “We want our defense to create our offense.” That’s sort of a good, what’s the word I’m looking for? That’s just a good way of playing pretty much any sport, but you’ve really seen it in action with this Gators team. They want their defense to create their offense, and they really did that yesterday at Michigan State. They want to create turnovers. They want to press. They want to get those fast break points, because when they’re creating turnovers on their defense, and they’re getting fast break, that’s when they can use Kasey Hill to his full ability, because Kasey Hill’s greatest attribute is his speed.

Andrew:                 When he can finish.

Kassidy:                 When he can finish. If he’s on a fast break there’s not going to be that many people in front of him between him and the basket. They really stepped up on their defense yesterday, because their defense has been a strong suit for the entire season so far, but it’s usually be in one half. They might play strong defense in the first half and then kind of fall flat in the second half, because they already have a lead, or vice versa. They might play flat in the first half, and then they come out strong in the second half so they can come back. Yesterday you really saw it kind of last for pretty much the full 40 minutes. I would say the last couple of minutes they kind of slacked off. They were creating sloppy turnovers and things like that.

They pushed them the whole time. There was a Michigan State player that said on ESPN after the game, he said, “It was tough, man. They were physical. They threw different defenses at us, switch 1-4. They were just really physical and tough, and they were a tough team tonight.” That’s what’s going to be what carries this Gators team through the rest of the season is their defense. We saw it start to click last night. It would have been better if Egbunu had still been in, but this team is going to get fouls with this defense. Egbunu just has to learn how to control his body, especially because he’s so big. We used to see it with Pat Young who would get calls all the time.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. It’s a deal where it’s maybe an issue for the team, because Rimmer is a guy that is not the most physical guy with a guy like Egbunu. There’s not a ton of depth there, and Egbunu almost has to play, I don’t want to say shy at times, but he almost has to pick his battles of when he’s going to attack, because of the lack of depth there, and especially with his ability to score inside. That was very apparent for Michigan State last night. Final few minutes of the game they were going to their big guy on strictly little one pass in hook shots in, and it was there. That’s the thing.

I wanted to hit on something real quick though, and this was something that I was hoping you were going to touch on, but you didn’t, so I’m kind of glad. Mike White played back to back roads games against ranked teams. Something Billy Donovan only did once in his career.

Kassidy:                 Did you see me tweet that yesterday?

Andrew:                 I did see you tweet that. Thinking you were going to bring it up. Let’s not make out that this is, am I saying this is a good basketball team? No. Am I saying this is a terrible basketball team? No. I think it’s somewhere in between. I think it’s a team that we thought it was going to be maybe a little better, but you kind of look at what’s up next. You have a matchup with Oklahoma State, who’s a decent basketball team. Then you have back to back home games with Jacksonville and Florida State. You look at three more games before you get to conference play. Florida has to find a way to get these three games, in my opinion. You can’t go into conference play with four losses, five losses. They’re 9-3 right now.

Kassidy:                 6-3.

Andrew:                 6-3. Find a way to get to 9-3 going into conference play. That way it gives you an opportunity to get to 20 wins. Even if you do lose a game you can get to 20, but you don’t want to go in with four losses and go in with bad momentum. Find a way for this team to get better. The SEC’s not great this year. We’re not going to lie about that. Florida has an opportunity to play really good basketball, but finish the nonconference schedule strong.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. I think that they will. After that Miami loss, I love our Gator Country members, but I was getting so frustrated with some of them on the board that I think I finally just posted one last post, and I was like here’s thoughts on this. So many people were upset with the team, and one person even said, the program that Billy Donovan built has fallen to the ground. I just wanted to remind people Billy Donovan was here for almost two decades, and this seems like it should be so obvious, but I think we just get caught up in the emotions of the game, and we kind of forget to think logically.

Billy Donovan was here for almost two decades. Mike White had been here since May, and it was the eighth game of his entire coaching career at Florida. This team has shown some issues and problems that they need to fix, but I think we’ve also seem them growing and getting better and better as the season has gone on. They started off the season playing strong second halves. They realized they needed to fix it, then they started playing strong first halves. Even with Miami, and especially Michigan State, we started to see them put a full game together. Michigan State as a loss, but I think it’s probably one of the best games they’ve played all year.

We’re seeing them grow. We’re seeing them learn this system that Mike White wants them to play, even though he wants them to play even faster. They’re slowing teams down. We’re seeing them still sort of learn this system. We’re seeing them take more shots, which is something Mike White wants them to do, and we’re seeing them get really strong on defense.

I think the chance to take these next three games before heading into conference play is actually a really good chance and something they could do. It’s something they’re going to have to do, because once you get into conference play you can’t start to use the excuse of this is a young team, because you know what? Kentucky’s made up of a bunch of preschoolers, and they still win every year. You’re not going to be able to use that excuse once you get into conference play.

Andrew:                 I think the members have some point. I’m not going to sit here and say that Mike White’s a failure. I’m not going to say that. Am I going to say it’s a success so far? No.

Kassidy:                 No.

Andrew:                 It’s a team that is made up of not very good players, for the most part. They don’t have a go to scorer for the most part. Don’t have great shooters for the most part. Even if Billy Donovan’s here this year you’re not looking at a team that’s very good probably.

Kassidy:                 Right.

Andrew:                 Especially with a change of a offense, or a style of play for Mike White. It is different for these guys. The thing that bothers me the most is that these guys are still missing free throws, still missing bad jump shots, and it’s just a thing that I think it’s become a pattern where it’s just almost like these guys just aren’t that good. One thing I will say is this, and this is the only thing that worries me about Mike White and his staff. Recruiting is not good for this staff right now. They do have two commits in the class, and they’re decent players. Are they great players? No.

My only concern is when you take away a guy like Egbunu, like you did on Saturday night, you kind of struggled. Now you’re going to take away Dodo next year as well. Where does your offense come from? That’s my only concern about Mike White is his staff has got to find a way to get this team to be exciting, to create momentum on the recruiting trail going forward. That’s my only thing for that.

Let me ask you this. This was a question I was trying to get to. Where do you see is the best starting five? Do you see it as it did last night with Chiozza starting, or no?

Kassidy:                 Yes and no. I think Chiozza, see this is where it gets confusing, because you immediately want to say yes, Chiozza should start, because the offensive flow is noticeably better when Chiozza is on the floor. He moves guys into position. He gets them the ball, which is what a point guard is supposed to do. It’s noticeably better when he’s on the floor, but guys have been playing well off the bench for Mike White. He made a comment about a month ago that I thought was really interesting. He said, “I’m not concerned with who are starting five is. I’m concerned with who are sixth man is.” I don’t know if that’s a mentality he’s pushing on them or what, but guys have played really well off the bench this season.

That being said, I liked the starting five with Devin Robinson. I liked it with Chris Chiozza. Brandone Francis-Ramirez, he’s my favorite player to watch, just because he brings so much energy and fire, but he is not in the starting five yet. He started yesterday more than anything because KeVaughn Allen was dealing with a little bit of illness, I believe. I would go with Chiozza, Allen, Robinson, Dodo, of course, and Egbunu. Keep that starting five. That’s pretty much the starting five Mike White has gotten into, except you’re putting Chiozza in there instead of Kasey Hill.

He has admitted he’s still playing around with the rotation. I think he’s still playing a good average of about 12 guys a game. He hasn’t figured out that rotation yet, and that’s fine. Keep playing with it, especially if it’s working for you, but those five I would definitely trot those out there to start for the next three games at least. Then you kind of a have a much better idea of what you want to do heading into conference play.

Andrew:                 I think you’re seeing though KeVaughn Allen grow as a player. He’s a big time scorer. He’s going to be a big time scorer. I think that’s the biggest thing is you continue to get him to grow, and he’s going to be a guy you’re not going to be able to keep out of the lineup as it goes forward. I just can’t see how you continue to play Kasey Hill. I’m not trying to be down on the guy, but the guy is just not a very good basketball player. That’s just the best way to say it right now. He’s just not a very good player right now. He’s probably doing more harm than he is good. That’s the thing that I can’t see why you continue to start him going forward, especially with a guy like Chiozza playing so well. Chiozza.

Kassidy:                 We’re going to work on that.

Andrew:                 I always call him Chizzio.

Kassidy:                 The big cheese.

Andrew:                 The big cheese. There you go. Hitting his jump shots, if he continues to do that it is going to be very tough to keep him out of that lineup.

Kassidy:                 Right. I think this was in the second half, but coming out of half time Florida had not made any threes all night, and then Chiozza hit like three.

Andrew:                 Three in a row. That’s right.

Kassidy:                 He’s a good spark. He gets guys into position, and he takes smart shots. Mike White wants them to get their shot selection up and get those numbers up, and I think Kasey Hill just kind of heard take more shots. So that’s what he’s doing. Chiozza’s taking more shots, maybe not as many as Kasey Hill, but he’s taking smart shots.

Andrew:                 Right.

Kassidy:                 That’s a big difference maker.

Andrew:                 Nobody can take dumb shots like Kasey Hill.

Kassidy:                 You’ve got to get your guards to take more shots. I think I sent you a stat the other day that blew our minds. Their big men, Egbunu, Dodo, and Devin Robinson have taken, I don’t even remember what the stat was, but it was a ridiculous number of more shots than their guards had taken, Hill, Chiozza, and Allen. That’s not a winning formula. It’s the only formula this team has been able to go with right now, because those are the only three that are actually doing anything offensively. That’s what they’ve got to fix. They’ve got to get their guards involved more, and they’ve got to get them taking better shots. We’ve seen that with Chiozza and Allen, and maybe that’s why Kasey Hill asked to be benched. I don’t know.

Andrew:                 That’s the thing that you’re saying. You’re saying it correctly. For this offense the guards have got to shoot the ball more. You don’t want them taking dumb shots, but they need to be able to get their shot up and figure out some way to get consistent with the shot. When you’re getting into conference play, teams like Kentucky, teams like LSU, they’re not going to turn the ball over to allow fast breaks. You’re going to have to go to their half court offense to score points, and that means guys like Kasey Hill and guys like Chiozza, Allen, Dodo, and the rest of those guys, hitting their shots. Florida’s something like 300th in the country in 3 point shots. That’s not Florida basketball.

Kassidy:                 Painful to hear.

Andrew:                 That’s not Florida basketball. Florida basketball is known for their 3 point shots. When you don’t have a guy that’s an elite scorer you need your guys to hit their shots. That’s just not happening.

Kassidy:                 I’ve been talking about him all night, so you’re not going to be surprised, but someone that I would like to see get involved more with that in Brandone Francis-Ramirez, because we saw at Gator Madness he won the 3 point shooting contest, and he didn’t do great in that first round, he had to get going. That happens for a lot of athletes. You’ve got to get going to get in a good rhythm. I would like to see him out there more and taking more shots, especially from beyond the arc, just to kind of get him in a rhythm and see what he can do once he gets going. We used to see that with Michael Frasier. Michael Frasier could go a half of basketball without hitting a shot, but once he hit that first one, he just lit it up.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Kassidy:                 I would like to see Brandone Francis-Ramirez maybe get a little bit more involved, especially with the 3 point shooting, and see if you could get him going on that.

Andrew:                 Definitely. I think we’ve worn our welcome out with basketball.

Kassidy:                 That’s the most I’ll probably talk basketball all night.

Andrew:                 Let’s not ever talk about basketball again. Couple of quick things. Under Armor game’s coming up. Now as of Monday, when you guys are listening to this, the dead period’s under way, so that means no more coaching visits. It means a little bit of a break, but guys will be signing. Juco guys will be signing this week as well. Then we’ll get ready for Under Armor week. Kassidy, myself, and the minion, Nicholas de la Torre will be out there.

Kassidy:                 He’s the minion now, not me?

Andrew:                 You are both minions.

Kassidy:                 Oh. I want to be Steve Carrell.

Andrew:                 I don’t know who Steve Carrell is.

Kassidy:                 From Despicable Me. That’s where minions come from.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. All I know is that I’m the goat, and you are the minions. That’s the way we run things around here.

Kassidy:                 We got to get Spivey up on his pop culture.

Andrew:                 I don’t know what baby goats are, so what’s a baby goat? I don’t know.

Kassidy:                 A kid.

Andrew:                 No.

Kassidy:                 That’s what it’s called.

Andrew:                 Whatever. That can be you guys then.

Kassidy:                 Ask Siri.

Andrew:                 There we go. We’ll ask Siri. As always, since Nick’s not here I guess I’ll say it. Find us at GatorCountry.com. Myself @AndrewSpiveyGC, Nicholas de la Torre you can find him @NickdelaTorreGC. Kassidy, say your Twitter name.

Kassidy:                 You don’t know it? I’m just kidding. It is KassidyGHill.

Andrew:                 There you go. I can’t remember all that stuff.

Kassidy:                 Had to go with the middle initial. If you own the Twitter name KassidyHill, give it back to me. I’ve checked. You never tweet. I want it.

Andrew:                 She’s throwing shots at people already. First time on here, and she’s already letting the goat rub off on her. As always, check us out. We’ll have more podcasts this week, and if you have any questions or comments, hit us up on GatorCountry.com. If you’re not a member, hit one of us up, and we’ll get you a deal. Kassidy, Nick goes out with stay classy, so are you going with that line today? If not, you just close it.

Kassidy:                 I don’t know. I got to come up with my own.

Andrew:                 You got to be original.

Kassidy:                 Yeah. He’s stealing that straight off Anchorman.

Andrew:                 All right. What would be your final line, so you can say it?

Kassidy:                 I don’t know. Crap. This is a lot of pressure now. I don’t know. If I was like hanging up with my grandma or something I’d be like, roll Tide.

Andrew:                 We’re not saying that. Just say bye to the people, and let’s get out of here.

Kassidy:                 Goodbye. I will take suggestions on closing lines on Twitter.

Andrew:                 There you go. She’ll get it. Mark, Butch, you know the drill. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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This edition of the Gator Country podcast brings you  updates on the Florida Gators commits that played in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star game on Saturday afternoon in Mississippi.

Andrew Spivey is joined by Kassidy Hill on this edition of the GC podcast as she talks about the Florida Gators basketball team as well as what she witnessed on Saturday from the Florida Gators commits.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey. Back, I don’t have Nicholas de la Torre with me. I got my home girl, Kassidy. Kassidy, say hello to the people.

Kassidy:                 No worries. This is definitely an upgrade. This is our Christmas gift to the Gator Country fans. They get me today.

Andrew:                 She definitely can’t stay up to the goat status. As you people know if you watch us on Twitter yesterday, I was upgraded to a five star, so that means I got a five star ego now.

Kassidy:                 Loosely given five star. I can say that the ego really did grow with it. I had to deal with it the whole way home.

Andrew:                 There you go. Kassidy, we got to watch the Alabama/Mississippi All Star game yesterday. A couple of good players in the game. Mississippi kind of came out and got the W by some pitiful coaching from the Alabama squad, but we won’t talk about that. Overall, what did you make of the day from a couple of those Gator commits? I know one guy kind of had your eye the whole day.

Kassidy:                 There were several of them that did really well, and I think I even still have my list here of the Gator commits that were in the game. Jawaan Taylor, Lamical Perine, Jeremiah Moon, and Quincy Litton, all of them were impressive. I was really impressed with Jeremiah Moon. He’s very quick off the block. He has that wingspan that reminds me a lot of Alex McAlister. He needs to put on a little bit more weight, but, man, he’s just a freak. When he comes around the edge you just want to get out of his way. I do not envy future SEC quarterbacks if they’re going to have to face this guy. Florida’s going to continue their edge rushing status that they have created over the past couple years by bringing in that guy. He was really impressive.

Perine as well. I know that’s your guy, Andrew. I started to see why yesterday. He wasn’t used a whole lot. That was part of the pitiful coaching that we’re not going to talk about, but when he was used he definitely made the most of his carries. He broke off one big run where he just pushed through to get to the second level. They used him on some returns as well. That wasn’t something I was expecting. So that was a nice little surprise to see.

Andrew:                 He only had six carries in the game, but he broke a long 48 yarder with a nice little stiff arm. If Lamical’s listening to this, work on your speed, big dog. It was a good game.

Kassidy:                 I went back and looked at the pictures, and I found one where he was looking back at the defenders, and I was like, that’s the first rule of running, never look back. Never look back.

Andrew:                 Never look back. They definitely had the angle on him. I want to kind of say exactly what you said, mirror what you said on Moon. Moon’s a guy that probably doesn’t get the notoriety that a lot of these other guys do, because of him playing in Hoover, but he’s a guy that has that, I watched Brian Burns a lot, and I like Brian Burns.

Kassidy:                 I love Brian Burns, yes. I with you there.

Andrew:                 I think Moon’s definitely going to be a linebacker, but he has that burst that Brian Burns does off that line. The thing that I guess surprised me with Moon was how athletic he was in space. There was a couple plays that I remember quite well yesterday where he was in open space with the running back one on one, and made good plays in space. 210, 215 he’s a guy that’s going to be 235 easy and play outside linebacker. I think the biggest thing that I think I can compare him to is a bigger Jeremy Powell off that Sam linebacker position like Matt Rolin’s playing right now. That’s kind of where my comparison goes for him. Then I still stick with Brian Burns being the McAlister guy. Get both. Have plenty of rushing off the edge.

Kassidy:                 Yeah. That’s a very good point. I guess just because I’ve become so infatuated with the was this Florida defense uses edge rushers so well. In my opinion they use them better than almost any other school in the country. So that was the first thought I had with Jeremiah Moon was another pass rusher. I start getting greedy, and I just want them all. He did very well when he dropped back. He could drop back as a linebacker, like you said, he covered very well, and he made the most of every time he was on the field. It was just really impressive overall every time he was on the field.

Andrew:                 That’s kind of what I was going to say. He’s a guy in this defense that kind of predicates on that outside linebacker being able to rush the passer as well as get back into coverage. He kind of fits that perfectly in that position. It’s a good player there. A guy that I actually liked a lot and was impressed with probably more so than anybody was Quincy Litton. I went back and was watching a little bit. His hip fluid is great. He can flip those hips in a heartbeat at safety and at corner, but probably the biggest thing is his mental makeup is incredible for him. Safety, corner, whatever it is he’s going to be a big time player.

Kassidy:                 Quincy Litton, not only was he great on the field, he was a hoot off of it. That’s probably my favorite thing about these events is just getting to know these guys when they take the helmet off. I know that’s why you like to do recruiting as well. I really liked Litton a lot. He’s going to fit in well with that defense and the kind of, I don’t want to say reputation, that seems to have a negative connotation, but the sort of attitude that this defense has created over the past few years. Litton’s going to fit right into it. He’s got that little bit of cockiness. If he breaks up a pass he’s going to let you know about it.

Andrew:                 Him and Chauncey Gardner will be best friends.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. Yes. It takes a lot to live up to Chauncey’s…

Andrew:                 Arrogance?

Kassidy:                 I was trying to find a good word for it. I love it about Chauncey, but if you don’t know Chauncey and you hear those words, you get a bad feeling about him, but, no, he pulls it off. Quincy Litton’s going to be able to stay right there with him. So that’s going to be a lot of fun to watch them the next couple years.

Andrew:                 We’ve all been accustomed to Vernon and his trash talking, but Quincy and Chauncey may take it up a level. Then speaking of another guy, Jawaan Taylor. He’s going to let you know how good he is as well. He’s a guy that a lot of people kind of figured, he’s just a guy from Montgomery to get Mack Wilson. He actually played pretty well yesterday at free safety. Couple missed tackles in the game, but the one thing that I noticed about him was he had a little bit of that Kiki, Keanu Neal, in him that he was able to fill them rushing gaps, the run gaps, very well from his safety spot. Covered the ball well as well on the little short intermediate routes for him. Needs to grow a little bit, probably needs to mature in his body a little bit from a mental standpoint and a physical standpoint, but he’s just a guy in my opinion that has the ability that it’s not going to take long for him to get there. Litton’s probably a year ahead of Taylor as far as that goes, but Taylor’s no slouch in his own means.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. It’s interesting that you compared him to Kiki, because that was something that he talked to me about after the game is that is the sort of position and situation he would like to be used in, the way they sort of have alternated Kiki and Brian Poole, and even Marcus Maye a little bit. That’s something that Taylor sees himself doing at Florida.

Andrew:                 The thing probably that I think you and I both can agree on is these guys have grown together, especially Taylor, Moon, and Perine, almost a family in general, and it’ll probably be something that’ll help these three guys when they get to Florida, because they’re 4 or 5 hours away from home. They’re going to have now three good friends, or two good friends, in Gainesville with them. I know Lamical specifically spoke to me about that and how they’ve gotten close with them. I think that’s the biggest thing. They were all together, sharing Gator gear all at the games. So that was big for me to see that kind of family atmosphere between the three guys.

Kassidy:                 You said three, and then changed it to two. That may have been a Freudian slip, because it could be three, because those three guys together have fully taken on the role of ganging up on Mack Wilson and bringing him to Florida with them. They understand their job. They have embraced it. That was something that, especially Lamical was talking to me about yesterday. They’re going hard after Mack Wilson. They may be the biggest recruiters of the guy right now.

Andrew:                 You were there. You heard Jawaan and Lamical talking about it. I specifically asked them both. I said, “Give me the truth. Is Mack Wilson trolling Florida?” Their answer was? “No.”

Kassidy:                 No.

Andrew:                 That’s kind of what they both said. Jawaan said, “I think he’s 50/50 right now.” He said, “I think part of him wants to go to Florida, and the other part of him wants to go to Alabama.” Then he even said that maybe Georgia has replaced Alabama now that Kirby Smart’s there. The people on Twitter who believe it’s a troll job, I would say kind of step back a little bit. Maybe it’s not as big of a troll job as you think. One guy, and this is something I wanted to hit on real quick is a guy that maybe we didn’t talk about because he’s not a Gator commit is Marlin Davidson, the defensive tackle that’s going to Auburn. In my opinion that guy is going to be a big time football player. He has that Jonathan Bullard esque about him. He’s just a big time player on that defensive line, and looked good yesterday.

Kassidy:                 I didn’t watch much of him. I think you probably watched that a little bit more than I did. I’m going to take your word for it.

Andrew:                 You couldn’t get your eyes off of how bad the coaching job was going.

Kassidy:                 That’s true. You know, someone that I did watch that is not a Gator commit, but that I was real impressed with, was DK Metcalf, and I think you were also impressed with Arthur Brown. They were both wide receivers on the Mississippi team. We kind of went back and forth during the game a little bit. You were like, that was my guy that made that catch. That was my guy that made that catch. Then they ended up being co MVPs for the Mississippi team.

Andrew:                 Don’t try to get on my goat status by bringing up your guy. People, let her know what’s up.

Kassidy:                 I liked DK a lot. He was impressive. He had a little one handed catch down there on like the 1 yard line that was, I don’t want to say O’Dell-ish, but it sort of was.

Andrew:                 No O’Dell. O’Dell’s a goat like myself, and we don’t allow just anybody to get on that goal level. I think probably the thing that you noticed the best was that the talent level that these two states are now pulling in is starting to become really good. Five years ago, six years ago, it was probably 10-15 guys in each state that were good. I think now you can kind of go about and there’s probably 25-30 good players on each team that are good enough. You think about a guy like Ben Davis, the linebacker, took the pick six. Probably going to Alabama, but he might have been the best player on the team, and he’s a guy that didn’t even get talked about a ton during the game.

Kassidy:                 He was very impressive. I think he was actually the MVP for the Alabama team as well.

Andrew:                 That’s just because he didn’t feed the ball to the offense.

Kassidy:                 It seemed like a good portion of the tackles, then like you said, that pick six, Ben Davis had his name right there with it. The PA announcer probably got tired of saying the name Ben Davis, but he was all over the place. He was impressive. You follow these guys a lot longer than I do, so you’ve kind of seen them grow. Just to see them all out on the field together yesterday, you’re right. There’s a lot of talent coming out of these two states now. I’m born and raised Alabama, so proud of it. I’ve always thought Alabama had great talent. Part of the tradition of Alabama is to knock on Mississippi, but I got to hand it to Mississippi. They put a lot of good players on the field yesterday as well.

Andrew:                 We’ll just say it was bad coaching. That’s kind of where it is.

Kassidy:                 That can be the excuse for everything.

Andrew:                 There it is. They don’t feed the ball to 26 in Perine. You’re crazy. Let’s kind of change gears here a little bit. Gators play Michigan State last night in East Lansing. I think it was a game, I think I told you on the way home, I was like this is going to be a blowout. We get back, it’s half time, and it’s 27-25. The final score maybe didn’t end as close as the scoreboard should. Scoreboard was probably a little off. It was 58-52, Michigan State wins, but it was a game that really had Florida not had three straight turnovers in the last 2 minutes of the game could have been either way. You’ve seen this team way more than I have. Was that a game just strictly they played up to their ability, or is that a game that you could see this team starting to kind of shake form? Has the last couple games started to get this way, despite the two game losing streak? Where is this team just in general?

Kassidy:                 To answer your question. Both. It was both of those things. They definitely played up to it. They were playing the #1 team in the country, undefeated team. They were playing in East Lansing, which had a great atmosphere going on in that game yesterday. I don’t know if you got to see it. That was a great atmosphere. You could tell even through the TV. They did play up to it, but at the same time we started to see a lot of things click together that we’ve seen flashes of throughout the 9 games, and they started to put a lot of it together yesterday. You start putting enough sparks together you’re going to get a little bit of a fire. They started to catch fire yesterday. I think there’s a lot of encouraging things that can come from the game.

Then again, at the end of the day it was still a loss, and you have to figure out why. Like you mentioned, there were three turnovers within three minutes, and in the last 5:40 of that game they only scored one field goal, and it was off of Kasey Hill fast break with 55 seconds left. It was just sort of a give me basket more than anything. Only one field goal in the last 5 minutes and 40 seconds of the game? It’s a six point game, and at that 5:40 mark it was only a two point game. So there was still plenty of time to come back and swing it in Florida’s direction to take that game, to get that signature win that they’ve been looking for, and they just sort of fell flat.

Andrew:                 Do you think that’s more of a testament to this team kind of being, with the exception of Egbunu and Dodo, it’s a young basketball team.

Kassidy:                 Right.

Andrew:                 Do you think it’s kind of a sort of that, or do you think it’s, I don’t know. Where do you stand?

Kassidy:                 I think you just said the keyword, Egbunu. Egbunu had fouled out by that point.

Andrew:                 Okay.

Kassidy:                 That makes a huge difference, because he has been such a presence under the basket both on offense and defense. He’s brought a lot of energy. Egbunu, Dodo. Dodo more just by necessity than anything, but Egbunu, Dodo, and Brandone Francis-Ramirez bring more energy to that court than anyone else on the team. Except for maybe Alex Murphy, who is still regulated to the bench while he recovers. Those three bring a lot, and Dodo, he’s out there. He does his job, and he brings energy. He knows his job, and he knows when to bring energy and when to dial back and kind of let the rest of the team take it. Brandone Francis-Ramirez is just a ball of fire, like running all over the court, but he’s still working on getting some of his offensive game together.

Egbunu has put it all together. He has the energy. He has the defense. He has the offense. When he fouled out that deflated the team probably more than anything else. That’s something that’s not going to show up in a stat sheet necessarily, and it made a big difference when he was off the court. I think that may have been the difference in the last few minutes is just not having him out there to keep them pumped up, to be that presence under the basket to kind of keep things moving. He’s a huge difference maker for this team. Like you said, other than him and Dodo it is still a very young team, except for maybe Kasey Hill, who’s a junior.

Andrew:                 Who did have a good game yesterday.

Kassidy:                 Who had a good game.

Andrew:                 I am the most critical of him, but he had a good game.

Kassidy:                 That was something else.

Andrew:                 Was it Chiozza stepping in to start it over him?

Kassidy:                 Yes. Let me tell you something interesting about Kasey not getting the start, and I thought this was very indicative of character that, to be honest, and this is not a knock on Kasey, but we haven’t seen this sort of character from Kasey in the whole time he’s been here. He asked Mike White to sit him.

Andrew:                 Interesting. What do you make of that?

Kassidy:                 He told Mike White that he thought it would be better for the team if he did not start, and Mike White said after the game, “I don’t think I’ve seen that in 16 years of coaching.” He’s probably right, and he may not see it again for another 16 years. The fact that Kasey went to Mike White and said, “Don’t start me. Sit me.” That says a lot about Kasey, and he knew that he had not been giving this team what he should have. To be honest, it was obvious.

Andrew:                 I think that’s what I was about to say. It’s a thing of yesterday you see Chiozza, when Michigan State was backing off of him Chiozza’s able to hit the jump shot. Kasey Hill’s not able to hit that jump shot, and the thing that makes Kasey Hill’s game so good, or should make his game so good, is his ability to drive to the hole, but he’s been able to finish right now, and I think it’s becoming a mental thing with Kasey.

Kassidy:                 Exactly.

Andrew:                 Not being able to finish. Let’s turn real quick. Defensively thought, I mean Florida played pretty well defensively in the game for the most part, and I think maybe it’s finally starting to, they’re starting to gel defensively with Mike White’s new system. I guess, what do you see of that? Egbunu being out at the end of the game was also a shot blocker they didn’t have for the big guy of Michigan State.

Kassidy:                 I think Dodo said it so much. I like hear it on repeat. It’s like a broken record. He said it over and over, “We want our defense to create our offense.” That’s sort of a good, what’s the word I’m looking for? That’s just a good way of playing pretty much any sport, but you’ve really seen it in action with this Gators team. They want their defense to create their offense, and they really did that yesterday at Michigan State. They want to create turnovers. They want to press. They want to get those fast break points, because when they’re creating turnovers on their defense, and they’re getting fast break, that’s when they can use Kasey Hill to his full ability, because Kasey Hill’s greatest attribute is his speed.

Andrew:                 When he can finish.

Kassidy:                 When he can finish. If he’s on a fast break there’s not going to be that many people in front of him between him and the basket. They really stepped up on their defense yesterday, because their defense has been a strong suit for the entire season so far, but it’s usually be in one half. They might play strong defense in the first half and then kind of fall flat in the second half, because they already have a lead, or vice versa. They might play flat in the first half, and then they come out strong in the second half so they can come back. Yesterday you really saw it kind of last for pretty much the full 40 minutes. I would say the last couple of minutes they kind of slacked off. They were creating sloppy turnovers and things like that.

They pushed them the whole time. There was a Michigan State player that said on ESPN after the game, he said, “It was tough, man. They were physical. They threw different defenses at us, switch 1-4. They were just really physical and tough, and they were a tough team tonight.” That’s what’s going to be what carries this Gators team through the rest of the season is their defense. We saw it start to click last night. It would have been better if Egbunu had still been in, but this team is going to get fouls with this defense. Egbunu just has to learn how to control his body, especially because he’s so big. We used to see it with Pat Young who would get calls all the time.

Andrew:                 That’s what I was going to say. It’s a deal where it’s maybe an issue for the team, because Rimmer is a guy that is not the most physical guy with a guy like Egbunu. There’s not a ton of depth there, and Egbunu almost has to play, I don’t want to say shy at times, but he almost has to pick his battles of when he’s going to attack, because of the lack of depth there, and especially with his ability to score inside. That was very apparent for Michigan State last night. Final few minutes of the game they were going to their big guy on strictly little one pass in hook shots in, and it was there. That’s the thing.

I wanted to hit on something real quick though, and this was something that I was hoping you were going to touch on, but you didn’t, so I’m kind of glad. Mike White played back to back roads games against ranked teams. Something Billy Donovan only did once in his career.

Kassidy:                 Did you see me tweet that yesterday?

Andrew:                 I did see you tweet that. Thinking you were going to bring it up. Let’s not make out that this is, am I saying this is a good basketball team? No. Am I saying this is a terrible basketball team? No. I think it’s somewhere in between. I think it’s a team that we thought it was going to be maybe a little better, but you kind of look at what’s up next. You have a matchup with Oklahoma State, who’s a decent basketball team. Then you have back to back home games with Jacksonville and Florida State. You look at three more games before you get to conference play. Florida has to find a way to get these three games, in my opinion. You can’t go into conference play with four losses, five losses. They’re 9-3 right now.

Kassidy:                 6-3.

Andrew:                 6-3. Find a way to get to 9-3 going into conference play. That way it gives you an opportunity to get to 20 wins. Even if you do lose a game you can get to 20, but you don’t want to go in with four losses and go in with bad momentum. Find a way for this team to get better. The SEC’s not great this year. We’re not going to lie about that. Florida has an opportunity to play really good basketball, but finish the nonconference schedule strong.

Kassidy:                 Exactly. I think that they will. After that Miami loss, I love our Gator Country members, but I was getting so frustrated with some of them on the board that I think I finally just posted one last post, and I was like here’s thoughts on this. So many people were upset with the team, and one person even said, the program that Billy Donovan built has fallen to the ground. I just wanted to remind people Billy Donovan was here for almost two decades, and this seems like it should be so obvious, but I think we just get caught up in the emotions of the game, and we kind of forget to think logically.

Billy Donovan was here for almost two decades. Mike White had been here since May, and it was the eighth game of his entire coaching career at Florida. This team has shown some issues and problems that they need to fix, but I think we’ve also seem them growing and getting better and better as the season has gone on. They started off the season playing strong second halves. They realized they needed to fix it, then they started playing strong first halves. Even with Miami, and especially Michigan State, we started to see them put a full game together. Michigan State as a loss, but I think it’s probably one of the best games they’ve played all year.

We’re seeing them grow. We’re seeing them learn this system that Mike White wants them to play, even though he wants them to play even faster. They’re slowing teams down. We’re seeing them still sort of learn this system. We’re seeing them take more shots, which is something Mike White wants them to do, and we’re seeing them get really strong on defense.

I think the chance to take these next three games before heading into conference play is actually a really good chance and something they could do. It’s something they’re going to have to do, because once you get into conference play you can’t start to use the excuse of this is a young team, because you know what? Kentucky’s made up of a bunch of preschoolers, and they still win every year. You’re not going to be able to use that excuse once you get into conference play.

Andrew:                 I think the members have some point. I’m not going to sit here and say that Mike White’s a failure. I’m not going to say that. Am I going to say it’s a success so far? No.

Kassidy:                 No.

Andrew:                 It’s a team that is made up of not very good players, for the most part. They don’t have a go to scorer for the most part. Don’t have great shooters for the most part. Even if Billy Donovan’s here this year you’re not looking at a team that’s very good probably.

Kassidy:                 Right.

Andrew:                 Especially with a change of a offense, or a style of play for Mike White. It is different for these guys. The thing that bothers me the most is that these guys are still missing free throws, still missing bad jump shots, and it’s just a thing that I think it’s become a pattern where it’s just almost like these guys just aren’t that good. One thing I will say is this, and this is the only thing that worries me about Mike White and his staff. Recruiting is not good for this staff right now. They do have two commits in the class, and they’re decent players. Are they great players? No.

My only concern is when you take away a guy like Egbunu, like you did on Saturday night, you kind of struggled. Now you’re going to take away Dodo next year as well. Where does your offense come from? That’s my only concern about Mike White is his staff has got to find a way to get this team to be exciting, to create momentum on the recruiting trail going forward. That’s my only thing for that.

Let me ask you this. This was a question I was trying to get to. Where do you see is the best starting five? Do you see it as it did last night with Chiozza starting, or no?

Kassidy:                 Yes and no. I think Chiozza, see this is where it gets confusing, because you immediately want to say yes, Chiozza should start, because the offensive flow is noticeably better when Chiozza is on the floor. He moves guys into position. He gets them the ball, which is what a point guard is supposed to do. It’s noticeably better when he’s on the floor, but guys have been playing well off the bench for Mike White. He made a comment about a month ago that I thought was really interesting. He said, “I’m not concerned with who are starting five is. I’m concerned with who are sixth man is.” I don’t know if that’s a mentality he’s pushing on them or what, but guys have played really well off the bench this season.

That being said, I liked the starting five with Devin Robinson. I liked it with Chris Chiozza. Brandone Francis-Ramirez, he’s my favorite player to watch, just because he brings so much energy and fire, but he is not in the starting five yet. He started yesterday more than anything because KeVaughn Allen was dealing with a little bit of illness, I believe. I would go with Chiozza, Allen, Robinson, Dodo, of course, and Egbunu. Keep that starting five. That’s pretty much the starting five Mike White has gotten into, except you’re putting Chiozza in there instead of Kasey Hill.

He has admitted he’s still playing around with the rotation. I think he’s still playing a good average of about 12 guys a game. He hasn’t figured out that rotation yet, and that’s fine. Keep playing with it, especially if it’s working for you, but those five I would definitely trot those out there to start for the next three games at least. Then you kind of a have a much better idea of what you want to do heading into conference play.

Andrew:                 I think you’re seeing though KeVaughn Allen grow as a player. He’s a big time scorer. He’s going to be a big time scorer. I think that’s the biggest thing is you continue to get him to grow, and he’s going to be a guy you’re not going to be able to keep out of the lineup as it goes forward. I just can’t see how you continue to play Kasey Hill. I’m not trying to be down on the guy, but the guy is just not a very good basketball player. That’s just the best way to say it right now. He’s just not a very good player right now. He’s probably doing more harm than he is good. That’s the thing that I can’t see why you continue to start him going forward, especially with a guy like Chiozza playing so well. Chiozza.

Kassidy:                 We’re going to work on that.

Andrew:                 I always call him Chizzio.

Kassidy:                 The big cheese.

Andrew:                 The big cheese. There you go. Hitting his jump shots, if he continues to do that it is going to be very tough to keep him out of that lineup.

Kassidy:                 Right. I think this was in the second half, but coming out of half time Florida had not made any threes all night, and then Chiozza hit like three.

Andrew:                 Three in a row. That’s right.

Kassidy:                 He’s a good spark. He gets guys into position, and he takes smart shots. Mike White wants them to get their shot selection up and get those numbers up, and I think Kasey Hill just kind of heard take more shots. So that’s what he’s doing. Chiozza’s taking more shots, maybe not as many as Kasey Hill, but he’s taking smart shots.

Andrew:                 Right.

Kassidy:                 That’s a big difference maker.

Andrew:                 Nobody can take dumb shots like Kasey Hill.

Kassidy:                 You’ve got to get your guards to take more shots. I think I sent you a stat the other day that blew our minds. Their big men, Egbunu, Dodo, and Devin Robinson have taken, I don’t even remember what the stat was, but it was a ridiculous number of more shots than their guards had taken, Hill, Chiozza, and Allen. That’s not a winning formula. It’s the only formula this team has been able to go with right now, because those are the only three that are actually doing anything offensively. That’s what they’ve got to fix. They’ve got to get their guards involved more, and they’ve got to get them taking better shots. We’ve seen that with Chiozza and Allen, and maybe that’s why Kasey Hill asked to be benched. I don’t know.

Andrew:                 That’s the thing that you’re saying. You’re saying it correctly. For this offense the guards have got to shoot the ball more. You don’t want them taking dumb shots, but they need to be able to get their shot up and figure out some way to get consistent with the shot. When you’re getting into conference play, teams like Kentucky, teams like LSU, they’re not going to turn the ball over to allow fast breaks. You’re going to have to go to their half court offense to score points, and that means guys like Kasey Hill and guys like Chiozza, Allen, Dodo, and the rest of those guys, hitting their shots. Florida’s something like 300th in the country in 3 point shots. That’s not Florida basketball.

Kassidy:                 Painful to hear.

Andrew:                 That’s not Florida basketball. Florida basketball is known for their 3 point shots. When you don’t have a guy that’s an elite scorer you need your guys to hit their shots. That’s just not happening.

Kassidy:                 I’ve been talking about him all night, so you’re not going to be surprised, but someone that I would like to see get involved more with that in Brandone Francis-Ramirez, because we saw at Gator Madness he won the 3 point shooting contest, and he didn’t do great in that first round, he had to get going. That happens for a lot of athletes. You’ve got to get going to get in a good rhythm. I would like to see him out there more and taking more shots, especially from beyond the arc, just to kind of get him in a rhythm and see what he can do once he gets going. We used to see that with Michael Frasier. Michael Frasier could go a half of basketball without hitting a shot, but once he hit that first one, he just lit it up.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Kassidy:                 I would like to see Brandone Francis-Ramirez maybe get a little bit more involved, especially with the 3 point shooting, and see if you could get him going on that.

Andrew:                 Definitely. I think we’ve worn our welcome out with basketball.

Kassidy:                 That’s the most I’ll probably talk basketball all night.

Andrew:                 Let’s not ever talk about basketball again. Couple of quick things. Under Armor game’s coming up. Now as of Monday, when you guys are listening to this, the dead period’s under way, so that means no more coaching visits. It means a little bit of a break, but guys will be signing. Juco guys will be signing this week as well. Then we’ll get ready for Under Armor week. Kassidy, myself, and the minion, Nicholas de la Torre will be out there.

Kassidy:                 He’s the minion now, not me?

Andrew:                 You are both minions.

Kassidy:                 Oh. I want to be Steve Carrell.

Andrew:                 I don’t know who Steve Carrell is.

Kassidy:                 From Despicable Me. That’s where minions come from.

Andrew:                 I don’t know. All I know is that I’m the goat, and you are the minions. That’s the way we run things around here.

Kassidy:                 We got to get Spivey up on his pop culture.

Andrew:                 I don’t know what baby goats are, so what’s a baby goat? I don’t know.

Kassidy:                 A kid.

Andrew:                 No.

Kassidy:                 That’s what it’s called.

Andrew:                 Whatever. That can be you guys then.

Kassidy:                 Ask Siri.

Andrew:                 There we go. We’ll ask Siri. As always, since Nick’s not here I guess I’ll say it. Find us at GatorCountry.com. Myself @AndrewSpiveyGC, Nicholas de la Torre you can find him @NickdelaTorreGC. Kassidy, say your Twitter name.

Kassidy:                 You don’t know it? I’m just kidding. It is KassidyGHill.

Andrew:                 There you go. I can’t remember all that stuff.

Kassidy:                 Had to go with the middle initial. If you own the Twitter name KassidyHill, give it back to me. I’ve checked. You never tweet. I want it.

Andrew:                 She’s throwing shots at people already. First time on here, and she’s already letting the goat rub off on her. As always, check us out. We’ll have more podcasts this week, and if you have any questions or comments, hit us up on GatorCountry.com. If you’re not a member, hit one of us up, and we’ll get you a deal. Kassidy, Nick goes out with stay classy, so are you going with that line today? If not, you just close it.

Kassidy:                 I don’t know. I got to come up with my own.

Andrew:                 You got to be original.

Kassidy:                 Yeah. He’s stealing that straight off Anchorman.

Andrew:                 All right. What would be your final line, so you can say it?

Kassidy:                 I don’t know. Crap. This is a lot of pressure now. I don’t know. If I was like hanging up with my grandma or something I’d be like, roll Tide.

Andrew:                 We’re not saying that. Just say bye to the people, and let’s get out of here.

Kassidy:                 Goodbye. I will take suggestions on closing lines on Twitter.

Andrew:                 There you go. She’ll get it. Mark, Butch, you know the drill. As always, go Braves and chomp, chomp.