Florida coach Billy Donovan knows that with a starting lineup of three seniors and two juniors, the points will come.
But Donovan has a bigger concern heading into UF’s season-opener against Georgetown in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic.
The Gators barely outrebounded undersized Nebraska-Kearney 32-29 in their exhibition game last season. Georgetown starts four players 6-foot-8 or taller.
“It’s still a major concern,” Donovan said. “I don’t like it. I think we can be a whole lot better. I think it has to be a collective effort.’
Florida was expecting junior forward Casey Prather to help fill some of the void in rebounding left by Bradley Beal, who averaged a team-high 6.7 rpg last season. But Prather has been sidelined after sustaining a pair of concussions in the span of two weeks.
Prather’s injury, an shoulder injury to transfer center Damontre Harris and the unexpected departure of 6-9 forward Cody Larson has limited Florida’s frontcourt depth in practice. The Gators enter Friday night’s opener against Georgetown with just three true post players — Patric Young, Erik Murphy and Will Yeguete.
In reviewing the Nebraska-Kearney film, Donovan said he felt too many of his players were caught flat-footed underneath the basket.
“One of the things that’s bothering me as a coach is we don’t leave the floor,” Donovan said. “We may be the best on-the-floor rebounding team in the country. Unfortunately, when our guys were standing on the ground, someone else was jumping.”
Young and Murphy combined for just 7 rebounds in 40 minutes.
“It’s pretty tough being a team that rebounds high in the air when you are so focused on blocking your guy out,” said Young, who posted four double-doubles last season. “When you are engaged with someone, it’s hard to get off the ground. But if we’re all doing our job blocking out, making sure our individual guys don’t get the ball, we should be fine.”
On the offensive glass, Yeguete finished with 5 of UF’s 11 offensive rebounds. Donovan said he would like the guards contribute more in rebounding on both ends of the floor.
“We kind of had a similar problem last year rebounding in the beginning of the year,” Florida senior Kenny Boynton said. “But I think the way we’ve practiced, the drills we’ve done, I think we understand the importance of rebounding now.”
– Prized 2013 recruit Jabari Parker enjoyed his Florida visit and said he has no favorites at this point. Florida is in Parker’s final five with Duke, Michigan State, Stanford and BYU.
– Montverde Academy 6-10 center Daraki Johnson has reclassified for the 2013 class. The 260-pound Johnson has drawn interest from Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State and Syracuse.