Florida coach Mike White re-iterated there were no disciplinary issues stemming from his decision not to start junior guards KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson against Loyola-Chicago.
Instead, it had to do with rewarding freshman Deaundrae Ballard for his effort on Monday against Florida State and rewarding redshirt sophomore forward Keith Stone, who had a good practice on Tuesday. With Allen and Hudson coming off the bench, Florida suffered its third straight loss, falling 65-59 to the Ramblers.
Allen, a preseason All-SEC first team selection, didn’t start for the first time since Dec. 19, 2015, when the Gators beat Oklahoma State in the Orange Bowl Classic. White has used six different starting lineups in UF’s first eight games.
“We have a wonderful group of guys,” White said. “I have zero issue with our guys off the floor – as good a group as I’ve ever dealt with. Ever. I want to play harder and when you watch the film from the Florida State game, was I happy with the intensity level on the glass from our wings? No. I want KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson to play with more edge. But you know what, I want everyone on our team to play more edge, too.
“Again, I thought it was more of a reward, and Keith Stone had a great practice. I thought it carried over. I thought Keith Stone played with as much energy as he has yesterday. And Deaundrae Ballard, if there was any bright spot against Florida State I thought it was him. I want our guys understanding, my spot, I cannot take it for granted. I’m not guaranteed to start. If I start so-and-so night it doesn’t mean, I’m starting or even playing the next night. None of that matters. What matters is playing well, earning minutes, earning your teammates’ trust, your coaches’ trust and trying to get better.”
Hudson, UF’s leading scorer at 19.7 points, said he didn’t know he was coming off the bench until right before game time.
“It was a little bit surprising, but everyone can play on this team,” Hudson said. “It’s about the team. But we took a hard loss on Florida State, we’re trying to change things up, see what’s best for the team. And so we’re going to keep changing things up until we figure out where it went wrong. We’re going to go back to the basics.”