Florida hoops: Life without Yeguete

It’s no secret losing power forward Will Yeguete for the remainder of the regular season is a big loss for the Florida Gators basketball team.

As has been reiterated time and time again, Yeguete is a high-energy post player who did a lot of the “little things” that doesn’t show up on a statistics sheet.

The loss provides a depth issue in the frontcourt that Florida will look to quickly fix as it heads into the final SEC stretch.

In addition to his presence in the post as a lock-down defender and a growing offense threat, Yeguete was the integral centerpiece in the vaunted Florida press defense.

When asked Monday about Yeguete’s status following a Friday knee surgery, Donovan could only speculate, saying it would take at least another week before he would have a timetable for his return.

In his absence, the Gators will turn primarily to small forwards Casey Prather and freshman Michael Frazier II to step up and fill in. On Saturday against an overmatched Mississippi State team, it appeared Donovan began to test out multiple different lineups to deal with the depth issue.

Prather appeared back to his normal ways and provided a season-high 12 points off the bench while Frazier added 11 points, six rebounds and three assists in his first career start. The speedy experimental lineups proved effective for the Gators against the Bulldogs, but they will surely not have that luxury when No. 25 Kentucky, riding a five-game winning streak, comes to Gainesville on Tuesday night.

Kentucky enters the O’Connell Center with five players averaging double figures and a stingy defense that holds opponents to a 37.8 percent shooting clip from the field.

Florida’s defense has been stellar as well this year, aside from last Tuesday’s debacle at Arkansas, limiting opponents to 37 percent shooting from the field with the fourth ranked scoring defense in the nation.

On Monday, Donovan touched on the challenge ahead of his team against a lengthy Wildcats squad.

“They’re getting (Willie) Cauley-Stein back and then you add (Kyle) Wiltjer and add (Alex) Poythress and (Nerlens) Noel,” he said. “They have a lot of length up there. Our hand is what it is, in terms of our frontcourt. We know we collectively have to do a good job as a group.”

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Seth Puglio
Seth Puglio joined GatorCountry while he was finishing his sports management degree at the University of Florida. Originally from Vero Beach, Florida, Seth has been a huge sports fan his whole life and always knew he would want to get into the sports industry anyway he could. He has spent time working for several athletic administrative departments for the Gators and joined Gator Country as an intern in October of 2012. He is now viewing the sports industry from a new angle as Gator Country’s editor. In his free time Seth enjoys fishing, grilling out, watching too much sports and afternoon naps on the hammock. He is a fan of the Gators, Miami Dolphins, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Rays and Tampa Bay Lightning. Follow Seth on twitter @spuglio