UF men's hoops hosts Morehead State today

Freshman Will Yeguete's rebounding could come in handy Sunday afternoon when the Gators face Morehead State.


Published: Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 4:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 4:06 p.m.

The rebounds piled up, so quickly that Florida freshman forward Will Yeguete stopped keeping track.

Facts

At a glance

Who: No. 9 Florida Gators (2-1) vs. Morehead State Eagles (2-1)

When: Sunday, 3:30

Where: O'Connell Center

Gainesville TV: Sun Sports

Gainesville radio: AM-850

FLORIDA PROBABLE STARTERS

G Kenny Boynton 6-2 So. 15.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
G Erving Walker 5-8 Jr. 11.7 ppg, 3.3 apg
F Chandler Parsons 6-9 Sr. 15.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
F Alex Tyus 6-8 Sr. 8.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
C Vernon Macklin 6-10 Sr. 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg

MOREHEAD STATE PROBABLE STARTERS

G Sam Goodman 6-2 Sr. 8.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg
G Demonte Harper 6-4 Sr. 13.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
G Terrance Hill 6-1 Sr. 12.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
G Ty Proffitt 6-4 Jr. 9.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg
F Kenneth Faried 6-8 Sr. 17.0 pg, 11.3 rpg

Notes:Florida is 63-8 in November under Billy Donovan. ... The Gators are coming off a 105-55 win over North Carolina A&T, their highest point total since scoring 105 points against North Carolina Central on Nov. 14, 2007. ... Eight scorers reached double figures, the first time a Florida team accomplished that feat since 2000. ... Florida has shot 57 percent or better in two straight games for the first time since the 2006-07 season. ... Florida has outrebounded its opponents by plus-11.7 and is averaging 14.3 offensive boards per game. ... Morehead State is led by senior forward Kenneth Faried. ... Faried, named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year, is the nation's top returning rebounder and is averaging a double-double this season. ... Morehead State finished 24-11 last season and 15-3 in the OVC before losing in its conference tournament title game.

— Kevin Brockway

"I was just getting board after board and they told be at the end of the game I had 15," Yeguete said.

Yeguete's 15 rebounds Thursday night against North Carolina A&T were the most by a UF freshman since Al Horford grabbed 18 against Alabama in 2005. His rebounding could come in handy Sunday afternoon when the Gators face Morehead State. The visiting Eagles are led by senior forward Kenneth Faried, who is averaging a double-double (17.0 ppg, 11.3 rpg) early this season.

Yeguete's rebounding prowess hasn't surprised teammates or coaches who watch him every day in practice. Of his 15 rebounds, nine were offensive, the most since Horford had nine offensive boards against Alabama and Damon Maddox had nine against Texas in 1997.

"He's a beast on the boards," Florida sophomore forward Erik Murphy said. "His timing is so good. He just has a nose for the ball. I don't know how to explain it. He's just there."

Florida coach Billy Donovan originally envisioned Yeguete as a combo forward, but has played him more at power forward of late because of his rebounding. What the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Yeguete has lacked in height and bulk, he's made up for with positioning, determination and leaping ability.

"He is going to be a terrific player because he's a guy that embraces the dirty work," Donovan said. "And there's not a lot of guys that understand what kind of impact that has on winning, but loose balls, hustle plays, offensive rebounds, missed free throw comes up with it. He's got great hands. He's got an incredible nose for the ball. He's very physical."

Tom Topping, Yeguete's travel-league coach at Nike Team Florida, said the 6-foot-7 forward from Bordeaux, France came into his program more advanced than Team Florida alum Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Mbah a Moute went on to earn Pac-10 player of the year honors and played in three Final Fours for UCLA.

"I thought it was nuts that more people didn't recruit him," Topping said. "I couldn't be happier with how he's played so far. Sometimes people get caught up in (recruiting) rankings and stuff, but for me he always played with great confidence, energy and athletic ability."

Yeguete added four assists and three steals to an all-around impressive floor game. If there's a weakness to his game, it's been turnovers. Yeguete had three against N.C. A&T.

"He's got to get better in terms of handling and passing the basketball," Donovan said. "He has a tendency to sometimes turn it over too much."

But after not playing against Ohio State, Yeguete made the most of his 23 minutes on the floor Thursday night. Instead of sulking and letting the benching affect his confidence, Yeguete made a case for more playing time.

"That's the coaches' decision," Yeguete said. "I can't do anything about it. I'm just trying to, anytime I get on the floor, just bring some energy and try to help the team get better and get a win."

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