#12 Florida Men's Basketball Preview

Florida Gators

Overall Rank: #12
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
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2010-11: 29-8, 13-3
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Billy Donovan (360-147 at Florida, 395-167 overall)

Florida will have to rebuild their frontcourt this year, but the backcourt may just be the best in the country and once again Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton will lead the way. Walker and Boynton are both prolific scorers and long range shooters. Walker, the 5-8 point guard, makes this team go and averaged 14.6 points and 3.4 assists last season. He was also the most consistent three-point shooter on the team. Boynton is not a bad shooter either, but could stand to be a little more selective with his shot. But even when Boynton’s shot is not falling, he can attack the basket and do plenty of scoring.

Who’s Out:
Last season this was a frontcourt heavy team. The opposite will be true in 2011-2012. Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parson and Alex Tyus accounted for a vast majority of the frontcourt production and now have to be replaced. Macklin was the bruiser in the paint who could score efficiently under the basket. He averaged 11.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. Parsons was the big small forward who could do damage inside and out. He also had a knack for making clutch shots and his buzzer beater highlight reel is surprisingly long. Parsons was a matchup nightmare for most opponents and the smaller lineup they will employ this year will lack that advantage. Tyus was a mixture of Macklin’s bruising in the paint and Parsons ability to shoot. Tyus could step outside and knock down the mid-range jumper, but he also did a lot of work on the glass and the defensive end of the floor.

Who’s In:
The frontcourt needs a lot of help and they will get some in the form of redshirt freshman Cody Larson and true freshman Walter Pitchford. Larson is a good athlete who can get up and down the floor. However, he is also pretty physical and will throw around his 6-9, 231 pound frame under the basket. Pitchford is more of a project right now, but has a huge upside. He will be thrown into the fire due to a lack of other options. The big name newcomers are on the perimeter. Bradley Beal is one of the best incoming freshmen in this class. He can pretty much do it all, but is most noted for his limitless shooting range. But Beal can also attack the basket with ease. Mike Rosario, a transfer from Rutgers, will battle it out with Beal for minutes, but Beal, Rosario, Walker and Boynton will manage nearly all of the minutes on the perimeter. Rosario was a big time scorer with the Scarlet Knights, averaging 16.7 points per game. Rosario is even a pretty good ball handler and during those rare instances when Walker is on the bench, Rosario may be the one to help fill that role.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt will rely heavily on junior Erik Murphy and sophomore Patric Young. Murphy averaged just under 11 minutes per game last season, but he is a good outside shooter who can stretch the defense. However, with Florida likely playing small most of the time, Murphy will need to work hard on the glass. Young was quite inconsistent during his freshman campaign and he needs to stay out of foul trouble on the floor. Young is a strong rebounder, which this team needs to have from its center, and if he can emerge as a more consistent scorer under the basket, the frontcourt will be able to do enough to open up the offense for the backcourt. Will Yeguete will be a solid option off of the bench when Coach Billy Donovan needs a tougher player at the power forward spot. Yeguete is a little undersized, but he is tough and a good rebounder.

Final Projection:
There may not be too many minutes to go around for guards Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin, but both are coming off of decent freshmen campaigns in which they at least showed some promise. But this team will be led by the four superstars on the perimeter. Walker, Boynton, Rosario and Beal form one of the best backcourts in the nation and finding a way to stop them will be nearly impossible. But this Florida squad does need to get some production from the frontcourt or the opposition can stop the shooters and the slashers from getting to the basket.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Erving Walker, Senior, Guard, 14.6 points per game
Kenny Boynton, Junior, Guard, 14.2 points per game
Bradley Beal, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Erik Murphy, Junior, Forward, 4.3 points per game
Patric Young, Sophomore, Forward, 3.4 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#13 Bradley Beal
#17 Patric Young

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#3 Bradley Beal


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