One of the encouraging early season storylines for the Gators is the emergence of freshman guard Ques Glover as a fan favorite, a spark plug off the bench from Tennessee that has won people over with his speed running up and down the floor and the intensity he brings to the defensive end.
As soon as he enters the game he starts hounding his opposing check and making life difficult for them every time they get the ball. When Glover gets it on the other end you’ve got to be aware of his speed and shiftiness that can get him to the rim almost every time against unassuming defenders.
People around the program always thought the future was going to be bright for Glover but he wasn’t going to wait around for that to happen, carving out a role and commanding minutes right away. His production has made him hard to keep off the court and to make sure he gets run Coach White has even started playing 3 point guard lineups, usually to the delight of Gator fans watching.
What has led to such a tremendous start for the 5’11” guard that was unranked by every recruiting service when he committed to the Gators?
You’ve got to start with his defense. Bringing excellence on that end is going to get you on the floor on a Mike White coached team and Glover’s ability to pressure the ball has earned the trust of the staff and his teammates alike.
It all starts with his stance, one that’s as fundamental as it comes as he sits in a low crouch on the balls of his feet, ready to pounce at the ball at any moment and ready to burst side to side to cut off dribble penetration. Despite looking thin he has a powerful lower body and core that allows him to sit in that immaculate defensive position and be physical on the ball handler if he decides to create contact. His ability to play with speed at such a low center of gravity allows him to get into ball handlers and pressure them on the perimeter. Next time you watch Glover play look how he gets “underneath” a ball handler on the perimeter, making his first bounce difficult. When you can play defense that tight a ball handler almost has to move backwards to get his dribble going and when that happens they don’t have momentum to start attacking towards the hoop.
Given his size you knew there were going to be questions about his defense, especially as it relates to his ability to contest shots due to his lack of length.
Using good anticipation and a deceivingly high jump he’s been tremendous at defending jump shooters only allowing 0.571 points per possession and 27.8%, making him one of the best players at defending jump shooters on the team.
One area he does need to improve on defensively is when it comes to defending ball screens. Glover’s aggressiveness has hurt him sometimes on ball screen coverage as he tries to be aggressive but takes a poor angle around the screen allowing for penetration. Obviously he is a freshman and those mistakes will be cleaned up and when it comes to his work on the defensive end there is far more good than bad.
Offensively there are some great signs too, particularly in the pick and roll where he has been a tremendous creator.
Currently he is shooting 56.9% as a pick and roll ball handler (1.034 PPP) and has really used his speed to get into the lane and finish. There are a few things that make him such a threat when he uses ball screens.
First, he’s an excellent shooter off the dribble and teams need to be aware of that, and they definitely don’t want him sitting behind a screen and shooting. Currently hitting 41.2% (0.882 PPP) of his dribble jumpers he’s the best shooter off the dribble on the team.
Next, his speed makes him difficult to contain. When he starts sprinting towards the screen his speed gives him the option to “deny” the screen (not use the screen and instead go the opposite way) and he has used that effectively to get all the way to the hoop. A lot of the time when a defense sees a pick and roll being set up they set up for that player to use the screen and that’s where they align their help defenders. When Glover has denied screens it has surprised some teams and it has allowed him to get layups.
Right now Glover is just a scorer out of the pick and roll and he hasn’t been developed into a playmaker who is going to hit the open man and create shots for his teammates but that will come with time and with reps. Right now his ability to score in the pick and roll is impressive and it’s one of Florida’s best offensive options and for that to come from a freshman is spectacular.
Where the Gators need Glover to develop is as a shooter off the catch. In high school Glover always had the ball in his hands and it allowed him to develop excellent rhythm when shooting off the bounce. However, he didn’t develop the same shooting ability off the catch. Right now he’s shooting only 20% on catch and shoot attempts and the Gators are going to need him to be a better floor spacer around Kerry Blackshear and Andrew Nembhard. For almost every player shooting off the catch is easier than shooting off the dribble so the fact Glover has already picked up the more difficult ability should give some hope he’ll also become elite when shooting off the catch.
When it comes to Glover you’ve also got to factor in the intangibles of how different of a player he is from Nembhard. The major change in tempo when the Gators sub out Glover for Nembhard has surprised some teams and it makes it easier for Glover when teams aren’t ready for him and it makes it easier when Nembhard comes back in and teams are adjusted to the speed of Glover. They are the perfect starter-backup combination and the change of pace has worked tremendously so far.
Glover’s continued develop this season makes him an x-factor that could swing a game or two in the SEC, especially with his shooting off the dribble and individual scoring out of the pick and roll. Right now Florida needs every offensive weapon they have to be firing and Glover is one of them that can put points on the board.