When he met with the media on Thursday afternoon, Billy Donovan stated he had not seen his team since their game on Tuesday.
The Gators dropped a heartbreaking three-point loss to Missouri; where they let a game they controlled almost the whole way, slip out of their hands in the final minutes.
While Donovan said Missouri deserves plenty of credit, the Gators also suffered from a number of miscues which would ultimately doom them, with one area which was particularly haunting.
“There was a lot of missed free throws,” Donovan said. “Front ends of one and ones that hurt us … we left six points out there potentially.”
Donovan said the Gators also suffered from a few late defensive breakdowns, and didn’t rebound particularly well in the game. Despite their late game collapse however, Florida still had a chance to take the game, when they had the ball, down by one, with 19 seconds left.
What happened next is well known by Florida fans, as guard Kenny Boynton missed an ill-advised shot to end the Gators’ threat, and essentially the game, with nine seconds left.
Donovan said after the game he had preferred “action closer to the basket,” and that Boynton’s shot was not preferred. On Thursday, Donovan broke the play down further, saying that while Boynton’s shot wasn’t what he wanted, Scottie Wilbekin was also at fault, as he should have held on to the ball a little longer.
Naturally, when a player makes a mistake like Boynton did, a question was raised to Donovan concerning Boynton’s freedom on the floor.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in him,” Donovan said of Boynton. “Kenny’s a coachable guy that needs to learn … there are shot clock situations that the ball could potentially get thrown to you with two or three seconds left on the clock and you’re really caught in a bad situation.
“When he got the ball, there was about nine, 10 seconds. There was enough to try and create some movement towards the basket.
“I think you got to learn from it, you got understand where you made mistakes, where you got to get better.”
Finding Patric in the post
When player whose stat line was noticeably light was junior center Patric Young. Young has received less than 10 touches in Florida’s last two games, an issue which has been noticeable to Florida fans.
Donovan said the Gators should have gone inside to Young more against Mizzou, and that his team hasn’t done the best job of making the passes to Young when they are the there. However, Donovan believes that part of the blame for Young’s fading has to do with Young himself.
“One is, when he gets fouls, that kind of forces him to not play as many minutes,” Donovan said. “Two, when he gets fouled, he’s got to go to the free throw line and make free throws.
“I would just like to see him from my perspective, rebound better … I think just by him running the floor, by him offensive rebounding, by him posting up and catching it when he needs to (he can score more points).”
When there is Will, there’s a way
When it was announced that forward Will Yeguete would be undergoing minor surgery to cleanup his knee a couple weeks ago, his return this season looked grim.
However, Donovan expressed a piece of good news on Thursday, saying that Yeguete is ahead of schedule, a surprise to even the team’s doctors.
“Right now Yeguete is doing some light running, which is a good sign,” Donovan said. “He’s way on target, and way ahead of schedule right now in terms of where he should be. But now, we’re getting into the difficult part right now for him where we’re going to see how his knee is in terms of swelling once he starts running.
“If the doctors clear him, there’s probably an outside chance that he can maybe play the last three games of the year … I’m not saying that’s a guarantee of that, it’s going to depend on how he responds … but there is an outside chance that he could be back as early as the Vanderbilt game.”
Gators aren’t looking for payback
Before their loss against Missouri this week, the only other team to beat Florida in conference play was Arkansas, a team who has not lost a game at home all season.
Like the Razorbacks, Florida is also yet to drop a home contest this year, but Donovan says the Razorbacks have been playing well on the road as of late as well. According to Donovan, the reigning SEC player of the week, Marshawn Powell has been a big part of that.
“He’s a really good player, he’s one of my favorite players in the league,” Donovan said. “I think he’s one of those forwards in our league who’s kind of a complete player. He can do a little bit of everything.
“I always think that a guy like him, when you watch him play, wherever he catches the ball on the floor, he’s a scoring threat, and you can’t say that for a lot of scorers … he’s very talented.”
Although the Razorbacks embarrassed Florida by handing them an 11-point loss only a few weeks ago, Donovan says he doesn’t believe in the concept of payback, and his team shouldn’t either.
“I never worry about that,” Donovan said. “We had a chance to play the game up in Fayetteville and they beat us, beat us pretty handily. To me that is something that is behind us right now. It’s not like all of a sudden, if we win the game, we get the Fayetteville game back … I’ve never been a big believer in payback. What do you get back?”