Notebook: Tishman plans to return next season
Published: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 12:18 a.m.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When Florida recruited Rod Tishman from Israel last summer, there was initial curiosity as to how the point guard who had success overseas would fit in with the Gators.
Fast-forwarding to March, Tishman’s freshman season hasn’t gone as well as he or the Gators had hoped. The 6-foot-5 Tishman hasn’t appeared in a game since the closing seconds of Florida’s 72-58 win over LSU on Jan. 16.
“It’s hard,” Tishman said. “I try to do my best every practice. It’s very hard because I never had a situation to sit on the bench. This is basketball, you never know what can happen and you need to raise up yourself.”
Asked if he intended to return to UF for his sophomore season, Tishman responded: “I think so. I don’t know yet. I think I will be back.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan has said that Tishman’s inability to play defense has kept him off the floor. In seven games this season, Tishman is averaging 0.6 points and 0.4 rebounds with four assists.
“I feel like I’ve improved,” Tishman said. “I feel like I’m a better defender in practice. And yeah, I know that’s what I need to improve on most and I think I improved.”
Tishman said he intends to return to the Israeli national team when the semester ends in May. Last summer, Tishman averaged 18.3 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists for Team Israel at the European Under-18 Championships.
Despite the limited playing time, Tishman described coming to Florida as a “good experience.”
“I learned a lot from the coaches and all the players,” Tishman said.
Florida sophomore guard Ray Shipman said winning the SEC Scholar Athlete was as big an honor for his parents as it was for him.
“My mom teared up, she was so happy,” Shipman said. “She sent a forward text to like every person on her phone. My dad sent out a forward text.”
Shipman, a sports management major at UF, currently holds a 3.45 GPA. Shipman was a regular 4.6-4.7 student at Monsignor Pace High School, receiving straight As in honors courses.
“My mom, she thinks I’m lazy in school,” Shipman said. “She said imagine if you applied yourself even more. If I applied myself even more, the sky is the limit.
“It’s just a transition from high school to college and the fall and keep my same strategy on how to study and all of those things. The team sometimes picks at me because I study too much.”
Shipman is the third Gator to win SEC scholar athlete honors in the last five seasons. Former UF guard Lee Humphrey won back-to-back SEC scholar athlete awards (2006-07).
“It just makes me feel good inside,” Shipman said. “Those type of awards, individual awards, like basketball awards, your teammates help you out on that, but scholar athlete, that’s something you did on your own, so you can pat yourself on the back.”
Auburn coach Jeff Lebo said he’s not concerned about rumors surrounding his job status.
“I’m focused on my team, I’m focused on the tournament and I’m focused on our next opponent, Florida,” Lebo said. “That’s where all of my energy and my focus and my concentration is right now.”
In six seasons at Auburn, Lebo is 95-92. The Tigers have yet to make the NCAA Tournament during his tenure.
“As in most cases, when the season is over I’ll have a talk with my AD,” Lebo said. “We’ll have a conversation at that point. But that’s where it is right now.”
Alabama coach Anthony Grant said that sophomore forward JaMychal Green will be available for Thursday afternoon’s opening round game against South Carolina.
Green was suspended for violation of team rules in Alabama’s previous meeting against South Carolina on March 3. Last Saturday, Green played 14 minutes off the bench against Auburn.
“I’m not a guy that has a dog house or any of that stuff,” Grant said. “We dealt with the situation that we needed to deal with, and we’ve moved on. JaMychal has moved on, and he’s preparing like the rest of our guys do.”
Bye or no bye
As the No. 3 seed in the East, Tennessee opens SEC Tournament play this afternoon against No. 6 West seed LSU.
The Vols finished the season 11-5 in the SEC. Two teams in the SEC West — Ole Miss and Mississippi State — received first round byes with 9-7 league records because they were the two top seeds in the West.
Asked about the fairness of the divisional format, Tennessee Bruce Pearl responded: “In the offseason, I’ll comment on how conference tournaments, you know, how we think their formats can be improved. But right now, we play LSU (Thursday) at 2:15. It’s a fair question. I just don’t want to answer it right now.”
Florida junior forward Chandler Parsons said he’s “definitely” coming back for his senior season. ... It was a reunion of sorts for Florida coach Billy Donovan and his former assistant coaches, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey and Alabama coach Anthony Grant. All three were in the same building for the first time since the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Jacksonville. Then, Grant was Donovan’s top assistant at UF and Pelphrey was the head coach at South Alabama. Florida beat South Alabama 76-50 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament en route to the first of its back-to-back national titles.