Preseason Q&A Part One

It’s time for another instalment of the Question And Answer series at Gator Country where I field questions about Florida basketball from subscribers of the site.

As is tradition–I will do as many parts as required in order to answer all the questions that come my way.

If you want to have a question answered and aren’t yet a Gator Country subscriber, you can do that now and get ready for an excellent season of basketball coverage! Let’s begin.


NorthernGator: What can we expect from Handlogten? Is this a guy we think can make post moves and score and be an above average rim protector? At a minimum will he be an upgrade over Jitoboh?

It is fair to expect someone that should be impactful on both the offensive and defensive glass right away. Handlogten’s rebounding rates on both sides of the floor at Marshall were outstanding and while I don’t expect him to replicate those numbers exactly (41st nationally in offensive rebounding, 27th in defensive rebounding) he should still be an above-average contributor in both of those areas. While we’re talking about analytics and getting into what Todd Golden and his staff loved about Handlogten, you’ve also got to talk about his block rate which was 27th in the country. Watching the film, he got a lot of those blocks against undersized Sun Belt players who were trying to force layups against him at the rim, and good on Handlogten for doing his thing and slapping those away–but it’s not really transferable to the SEC where he will be put into space and forced to have to rotate before blocking a lot of shots. I would still put him in the “above average” category going back to your original question, but I don’t see him being the truly elite shot blocker some people are suggesting he’ll be. Though, I’ll happily be wrong.

Before I start talking about the post moves you were asking about, it has to be noted that Handlogten was just a freshman this past year and isn’t a finished product.

So, in terms of post moves…he did not show many of them. Handlogten was not much of an offensive player averaging 7.6 points per game as a starter in a league where he had a massive height and length advantage nearly every minute he was on the floor. The points he did get were on offensive rebounds and dump offs from teammates–seldom him going to work one on one in the post. Could he have improved greatly in that area this offseason? Perhaps, but I’m expecting it to be a longer term project than that. Look for him to get some points on put backs and in transition from sprinting hard, but don’t expect him to provide a lot of offensive creation on his own.

Is Handlogten an upgrade over Jitoboh? Yes, absolutely in my mind. Jitoboh was a liability on the glass and defensively, and didn’t provide a lot of upside offensively. Handlogten might not offer elite offensive upside at this moment but will already be much more impactful rebounding and on defense. Big time advantage to Handlogten in this comparison.


67walkon: Do you think Golden will play a big lineup instead of 4 out, 1 in stuff?

Yes, and this was essentially confirmed by how the Gators played in the scrimmage against Miami when the Gators started both Seton Hall transfer Tyrese Samuel and Micah Handlogten, two players that I would classify as centers. Samuel is listed at 6’10”, 240, and while I think he’s actually a bit smaller than that, he’s still awfully powerful for the “4” spot and the Gators will definitely have a frontcourt size advantage in most matchups should they continue to play Samuel and Handlogten together.

Even though the Gators will play a big frontcourt, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to play 3 perimeter players around 2 interior bigs. Tyrese Samuel has been desperate to prove his ability to hit threes to improve his pro stock, and Florida’s staff have empowered him to let threes fly. Handlogten was also encouraged to work on his three-point stroke this offseason in order to allow the Gators to play their bigs on the perimeter, so I’m still expecting some of the Princeton inspired 4 out 1 in stuff Golden has used for multiple seasons.


Bmfgator: Starting 5 and next 3 off the bench?

Again, I’ll go back to the Miami scrimmage to show what the Gators are thinking going into the season:

PG: Walter Clayton
SG: Riley Kugel
SF: Will Richard
PF: Tyrese Samuel
C: Micah Handlogten

The big three off the bench will be Zyon Pullin who can play either guard spot, forward Thomas Haugh, and forward/center Alex Condon.


MrGator: What do you think is a good year two for Golden and the Gators?

With the transfer portal allowing for instant rebuilds, the days of coaches getting three or four years to really show what they’re capable of are long gone. Say the Gators sneak into the NCAA Tournament this season as a bubble team–technically that would be a drastic improvement from last season, but I think it would still be a disappointment given Florida’s resources and how many teams we have seen instantly turn around with a coaching change. I think a good year for the Gators would be a top five or six finish in the SEC with a five or six seed in the NCAA Tournament.


That was part one of the series, with part two coming soon! If you want to submit a question, you can do so on the Gator Country forum.

Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @ericfawcett_.