Who will start at point guard has been one of the main conversations surrounding Florida’s offseason and much of the discussion has revolved around returning 5-star sophomore Tre Mann and Horizon League All-Star transfer Tyree Appleby.
Often absent from the discussion is Ques Glover, a sophomore who came to the Gators as an unheralded recruit following a productive Tennessee high school basketball career. As much as fan and media attention has been directed at Appleby and Mann relating to the point guard position coach Mike White has remained positive about Glover’s play, interjecting on a couple of occasions that there are practices where Glover was the best of the three.
Point guard is an important position in modern basketball and having multiple viable options on the roster is something the Gators haven’t had since Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza shared the role in 2017. Florida hasn’t had second unit point guards pushing the starter and the competition will hopefully bring the best out of each player.
The 2019-20 season started with Glover behind Mann in the depth chart. However, Mann’s offensive struggles opened the door for Glover to take hold of the backup point guard role and Glover took it, coming into the game with tremendous energy the team required. Unfortunately, as the season transitioned from non-conference to SEC play Glover started to struggle. First it was some defensive lapses, and then it was shots failing to fall. Sprinkled throughout his minutes were periodic turnovers, most famously against LSU where he coughed it up 3 times in only 8 minutes of play and then a disastrous outing against Ole Miss where he gave it up 4 times in 8 minutes. Glover ended the season as a bench piece used sparingly and it was clear he didn’t have the trust of the coaching staff.
As much as there were some rough stretches in his freshman season it’s important to remember that it was just that–his freshman season. Mere months before the season started Glover was uncommitted, a 0-star recruit not found on any recruiting websites who only had a couple of low-major offers. Fast forward those couple of months, and suddenly he’s playing high-major basketball. Hiccups were expected and now with a season under his belt we should have an opportunity to see who he really is as a player. Competition for minutes at point guard are going to be tough but if Glover plays to the best of his ability he’ll command minutes.
For Glover to get on the floor one of the biggest things he’ll need to do is hold onto the ball. His 26.4% turnover rate was one of the worst in the country and if he’s going to gain back the trust of the coaching staff he’ll need to prove that he’s capable of taking care of the rock. Going from high school basketball in Tennessee to high-major hoops there were definitely some adjustments Glover needed to make and he often found himself trying passes that probably worked in high school but weren’t going to fly at the next level. Several of his turnovers were telegraphed passes attempted through nearly impossible windows, the types of passes that make coaches want to pull their hair out. His short 5’11” stature also didn’t help as there were times longer defenders got their fingertips and passes he tried to lob over the top.
What made Glover’s turnover issues worse was the fact that he didn’t show a lot of confidence as a distributor and wasn’t able to generate many assists. It would be one thing if he was turning the ball over a lot but also creating assists, but he averaged only 0.6 assists to his 1.3 turnovers. In high school Glover was a talented passer who was particularly skilled at dump off passes to bigs when he drove, and if he starts to develop the driving ability at the SEC level we may start to see those style of passes.
Another place Glover will need to show improvement, and this could be the biggest swing factor, is his shooting. In high school Glover was a tremendous shooter who particularly thrived coming off of screens and pulling up for threes. His ability to hit shots off the bounce helped set up his entire game, the cornerstone of his offensive arsenal. Sadly, his freshman season at Florida didn’t go so hot from behind the arc. He finished the year shooting 24% from three, a number that had defenses leaving him open and daring him to shoot the rock. One contributing factor to his shooting woes is likely that many of his threes were off the catch, unlike most of the threes he shot in high school. Shooting off the dribble is a very different skill than shooting off the catch, even though you might not expect it at face value, and Glover didn’t have the chance to shoot many catch and shoot threes in high school. Taking attempts from the wing and corner off the catch was not something Glover was prepared for, which contributed to his struggles. Glover, like many other players, also seemed to struggle with the three-point line being pushed back and that’s something he should improve with as he gets stronger.
If Glover is going to improve as a shooter another element of his game that’s going to need growth is his shot selection. According to analytics tool Shot Quality a whopping 36% of Glover’s shots were deemed bad possessions (worst on the Gators) and only 19% were considered quality shots (second worst on the Gators). One of the keys to any player shooting better is to take better shots and Glover is someone that needs to improve with his discernment of when to shoot and when to pass it off. Glover is a talented shooter off the dribble which in some scenarios is good but also often got him into trouble. Instead of taking a wide-open catch and shoot attempt he loved to dribble it to the midrange and pull up with a defender in his face, something that had predictably low returns. Glover also liked to pull up from the midrange in transition which is definitely no-no in the eyes of any coach or analytic mind alike.
A strength of Glover’s offensive game is his foot speed. Glover has powerful legs that result in great quickness and he had some really good moments getting to the hoop and getting open layups. Despite being undersized he shot an outstanding 64% at the rim, one of the best marks on the team. In recent years Florida has lacked players that could drive the basketball and if Glover is able to get into the paint with regularity it would likely differentiate his offensive skill set from others in the backcourt and turn into some more minutes.
Defensively Glover is someone who shows great pride and energy on that side of the floor, something every undersized guard needs to compete at the high-major level. A technical skill that doesn’t get a lot of coverage but Glover excels at is closing out to shooters with choppy feet. When closing out to a shooter, long strides means long intervals of time where an offensive player can attack and leave the defensive player moving the wrong way. Glover always closed out with a quick burst of short, choppy steps that allowed him to quickly react to whatever direction the driver wanted to go. That is encouraging stuff from a young player and speaks to his desire to be great on that side of the floor. He struggled when matched up with some bigger, stronger players but he always showed tremendous levels of fight and that battle level is something you love to see from a young player. Another area he struggled in was pick and roll defense, though that’s one of the toughest things to guard as a perimeter player. For him to reach his potential he’ll have to get better at navigating screens and staying glued to his man, often easier said than done but something every guard needs to be able to do in modern pick and roll heavy basketball.
For Glover, there are things he needs to improve on to be an SEC regular but also flashes that show what kind of a player he could be. His biggest make or break skill to watch for as he takes the floor as a sophomore is his shooting. If he’s able to knock down shots it will open up even more of his driving lanes and that’s what can collapse the defense and help the Gators out as a team. As much as people often want to look at smaller guards and assume they have to be pass-first floor generals that often isn’t the case in modern basketball and if you’re going to be under 6 feet and ball you’ve probably got to be a scorer. Luckily for Glover he is more comfortable as a scorer than a distributor and putting the ball in the bucket could be his ticket to a regular shift as Florida’s point guard.