Donovan anxious to see UF hit the floor tonight
Published: Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 2, 2009 at 12:40 a.m.
Florida coach Billy Donovan senses he has a more mature team this season, both physically and mentally.
Whether that translates to a better defensive team remains to be seen. Donovan will get an early indication when Florida plays its exhibition opener tonight against St. Leo in the O’Connell Center.
“I’m curious to see how much better we are on the defensive end,” Donovan said. “I know we certainly have some size. We’ve spent a lot of time in practice working on the defensive side of the ball.”
Florida’s starting lineup will include freshman guard Kenny Boynton, the 12th McDonald’s All-American that Donovan has recruited to Florida. Joining Boynton will be 5-foot-8 point guard Erving Walker, 6-8 forward Dan Werner, 6-8 forward Alex Tyus and 6-10 center Vernon Macklin.
“We’re probably going to me mixing and matching a lot of different combinations on the floor,” Donovan said. “As far as who is starting, I don’t see that as really a big deal. A lot of our guys are going to end up getting equal minutes.”
Florida should have its way inside against St. Leo, whose tallest starters (Eric Sharper and Jordan Prais) are 6-7. Last season, UF finished 11th in the Southeastern Conference in defensive FG percentage (44.4 percent), last in total rebounds and last in blocked shots.
The Gators return 76.1 percent of its rebounding from last season and should get a boost on the boards with the addition of 6-10 Mackin and 6-9 freshman forward Erik Murphy.
“We’re excited to finally get a chance to play some people in other jerseys and not against ourselves,” said Werner, Florida’s lone senior. “Every year is different. Hopefully, we’ll be able to find a way to stop people this season.”
FREE THROWS: Donovan said third-year sophomore guard Adam Allen (knee) is still unable to practice. “He had the flu this past week and is recovering from that,” Donovan said. “He still can’t do anything. He’ll start to run on the treadmill one day and the next day he’ll be sore. So we’re at the point where we’re trying to get him to do more strenuous work on back-to-back days.”
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