It’s still early. But so far, the chemistry experiment involving Florida’s talented guards seems to be working.
Florida coach Billy Donovan has been pleased with the ball movement through the first four practices this season. Donovan, who charts shots of all of UF’s players, noted Monday that point guard Erving Walker has taken the third-fewest shots behind just Casey Prather and Cody Larson.
“That is just us trying to be the best team we can be and try to get everyone easy shots and work together,” Walker said. “We’ve got a lot of talent and we can help each other. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
Donovan has challenged Walker to lead the Southeastern Conference in assists this season.
“He has really tried to grasp and understand who he is playing with on the floor,” Donovan said. “His assist-to-turnover ratio has been really good. I think he has an idea of the challenges in front of him.”
With Walker, Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and incoming freshman Brad Beal, Florida has no shortage of scorers in the backcourt. But how well the four players blend together will be a subplot worth watching throughout the 2011-12 season.
“Everybody says chemistry (will be an issue) and is there enough basketballs for all of us,” Walker said. “But we don’t really focus on that. We focus on ourselves and trying to be the best team we can be.”
Added Donovan: “They are all probably trying to make a good impression right now. We haven’t played a game. When you start playing games and you start playing sometimes that stuff (comes out). I think they really feel like they’ve got to do that to make each other better. That’s been very pleasing to me to see that so far, is their unselfishness.”
– Donovan said that Rosario’s back has held up OK so far in practices. Rosario has a disc issue in his lower back that flared up last month. “It’s something that we have to monitor, but it’s not held him out of any practice,” Donovan said. “He’s got to stay on top of it with what he does rehab wise before and after practice. I’m not going into the year anticipating this is going to be a problem for him.”
– Donovan said that “one or two” potential walk-ons are working out with Florida in practice, but he has yet to make a decision whether they will join the team this season. Florida lost junior walk-on guard Kyle McClanahan during the offseason. McClanahan left the team in an effort to play at Division II Rollins College next season in his final year of eligibility.
– I received Florida’s 180-page media guide in the mail on Tuesday. The title of the media guide is “Game Changers” with Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, Patric Young and Erik Murphy on the cover. As an interesting sidenote, Florida adjusted its records from the 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons to reflect the wins that were vacated due to NCAA sanctions. The subject of vacated wins became an issue over the summer when the NCAA chastised Kentucky for celebrating coach John Calipari’s 500th win. The 500 wins included 44 wins that the NCAA vacated when Calipari coached at UMass and Memphis.
— Former Gator and Rutgers forward Jonathan Mitchell is off to a strong start playing overseas in Spain. Mitchell transferred from Florida to Rutgers following the 2007-08 season due to playing time issues.