#5 Florida Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Florida Gators

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #2 SEC

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Riding high off another trip to the Elite Eight, Florida has the weapons to make another deep tournament run. If all goes well, the goal by March will be more than just a deep run; the goal will be the Final Four and beyond. However, Coach Billy Donovan has a lot of issues to sort out. Injuries and suspensions are keeping the Gators very slim to open the season and that could last well into the 2013-2014 campaign. Yet, Patric Young is ready to go. The 6-9 senior averaged 10.1 points and led the squad with 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. While the backcourt reloads, the offense will run through Young.

2012-13 Record: 29-8, 14-4
2012-13 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Billy Donovan
Coach Record: 415-166 at Florida, 450-186 overall

Who’s Out:
And there is quite a bit of reloading to do. Mike Rosario, Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy were the Gators top three scorers a year ago and Coach Donovan will have to move on without them. Rosario led the team with 12.5 points per game, but losing Boynton’s 12.0 points and 2.7 assists per contest will hurt even more. Like Rosario and Boynton, Murphy could knock down the long ball. The 6-10 big man connected on 45.3 percent of his 159 attempts from beyond the arc. He was also third on the team in rebounding.

Who’s In:
A trio of transfers will make a huge impact sooner or later. Eli Carter, a 6-2 transfer from Rutgers, is recovering from a broken leg suffered in February. Once he is ready to go, Carter provides the team with a big-time scoring threat with plenty of Division I experience. Dorian Finney-Smith, who comes from Virginia Tech, and big man Damontre Harris, who spent two years at South Carolina, are currently suspended. Finney-Smith was an ACC All-Freshman selection back in 2011-2012 and Harris is a superb defender. All of three of the transfers should make a huge impact, but the question is how long will it take for them to get healthy or eligible? Incoming freshman Kasey Hill is widely regarded as one of the top point guards in this class. He has amazing vision and will be a great floor leader. The other incoming freshman is 6-10 center Chris Walker. He has the talent to be a top ten pick in the NBA Draft, but he is not eligible to play in the fall and must enroll at Florida in December for the second semester.

Who to Watch:
Florida does have a few returning players who are ready to step up their game. Scottie Wilbekin, who also spent some time being suspended over the summer and is expected to miss some regular season games as well, is the most productive returning player. Known for his stellar defense, Wilbekin also averaged 9.1 points and 5.0 assists in 2012-2013. When he is suited up for the Gators, he could turn into a leader. Michael Frazier and DeVon Walker are a couple more options on the perimeter. Frazier showed a lot of promise as a freshman. He spent most of the year beyond the three-point arc, where he shot 46.8 percent, but he does have the size and speed to get to the basket too. If he starts being more aggressive attacking the basket, Frazier could emerge as the team’s top perimeter scorer. However, he too is not fully healthy. Walker played far fewer minutes than Frazier during his freshman season, yet his versatility could come in handy early in the year. Up front Casey Prather and Will Yeguete will join Young. Prather, a 6-6 senior, was playing very well at the end of the last season and the hope is that he can keep that momentum going. Yeguete, another senior with starting experience, is a bruiser in the paint and adds some much needed depth.

Final Projection:
The talent that could be on this roster is quite amazing. The starting lineup on opening day could look entirely different than the squad Coach Donovan hopes to put on the floor in March. In fact, Young may be the only player who starts on day one and in the NCAA Tournament. There is a long, long way to go and rarely do things work out the way they could. If Frazier, Yeguete and Carter get healthy, Finney-Smith, Harris and Wilbekin return to Coach Donovan’s good graces and Chris Walker is eligible at the semester break, this is a Florida team that can compete with Kentucky for an SEC title and a national championship.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Scottie Wilbekin, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
Michael Frazier, Sophomore, Guard, 5.6 points per game
Dorian Finney-Smith, Sophomore, Forward, DNP last season
Casey Prather, Senior, Forward, 6.2 points per game
Patric Young, Senior, Center, 10.1 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (75th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.4 (3, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.8 (14, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.2 (9, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.1 (20, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.8 (29, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.7 (224, 9)
Rebound Margin: 4.9 (38, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (57, 2)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (29, 1)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#22 Chris Walker
#54 Patric Young

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#7 Kasey Hill
#9 Chris Walker


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