Junior forward Chandler Parsons has thrived as Florida’s sixth-man this season.
But with senior forward Dan Werner’s continued offensive struggles, would UF coach Billy Donovan consider replacing Werner with Parsons in the starting lineup?
I broached the subject with Donovan last week.
“On those situations, with two upperclassmen, I would have a tendency to talk to those guys about that,” Donovan said. “Chandler comes into the game pretty quickly. It’s not that big of a factor for me, the last two games the guy has come into the game with 17:44 on the clock and a lot of times it’s for Erving (Walker) because Erving I think early in games can get a little more fatigued and tired and has got to get his second wind.”
Werner has been in a prolonged shooting slump, making just two of his 2 of his last 23 from 3-point range. Werner was the target of ire from the Rowdy Reptiles after going 0-for-4 from 3-point range at the O’Connell Center against Kentucky.
Werner is a better defender than Parsons. But Werner’s lack of lateral quickness was exposed Tuesday night by Kentucky’s dribble-drive offensive attack.
Parsons is a better rebounder than Werner, averaging more rebounds (6.2 to 4.6) in as many minutes (27.3 to 27.6). Parsons also leads UF in 3-point shooting percentage at 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Because both Parsons and Werner play the same amount of minutes, a starting lineup change between the two may not make a big impact anyway. In fact, it could hurt Florida because Parsons has embraced the role as UF’s energy guy.
But Donovan hasn’t been afraid in his tenure to bench a senior player. In 2003, Donovan benched struggling senior guard Brett Nelson after Nelson lost his shooting touch. Freshman guard Anthony Roberson replaced Nelson and helped spark the Gators to a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
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