UF's rebounding success a team effort
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.
With the loss of leading rebounder Bradley Beal, Florida coach Billy Donovan was concerned about rebounding heading into the 2012-13 season.
But through 14 games this season, the Gators have replaced Beal's production on the boards with a collective effort. It's a big reason why No. 10 Florida (12-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) enters its matchup Thursday at Texas A&M third in the conference in rebounding margin (plus-8.8).
Florida is coming off an impressive job on the glass against LSU, outrebounding the Tigers 53-34 in its 74-52 win last Saturday. In the win, Florida scored 14 second-chance points. Junior forward Will Yeguete led the way with 13 rebounds, while Patric Young, Kenny Boynton and freshman guard Michael Frazier II each had seven boards.
“It just shows that each and every one of our guys can be physical and grab boards,” Young said. “We have to keep that going.”
Beal was one of the best rebounding guards in the country, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game last season at UF before declaring for the NBA Draft after his freshman year. Donovan said several factors have helped the Gators overcome Beal's absence. They include:
— Going with a bigger lineup early in the season with Young, Erik Murphy and Yeguete during Scottie Wilbekin's suspension.
— The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Frazier being a better rebounder than coaches anticipated.
— Casey Prather's athletic ability and versatility in playing shooting guard, small forward and power forward at 6-foot-6.
“When you have Prather out there and you have Yeguete out there and you have Mike Frazier out there at the small forward spot, we're a team that can compete on the glass,” Donovan said.
With Prather out at least a week, Donovan will need to continue to mix and match. Donovan said this is another game where the Gators could go big with Young, Murphy and Yeguete across the line. Texas A&M is seventh in the SEC in rebounding margin at plus-3.3.
“We could be big some against A&M with Yeguete, Murphy and Young, but it also could be a game where we have three guards out there,” Donovan said.
Dealing with knee tendinitis, Yeguete posted his second double-double of the season and third of his career against LSU (10 points, 13 rebounds). Young, who had four double-doubles all of last season, already has four this season. Boynton, meanwhile, is averaging 3.9 rebounds per game, up from his career average of 2.2 rebounds through his first three years on campus.
Florida has outrebounded 12 of its 14 opponents.
“We have been a good rebounding team, but we were exposed against their size, speed and quickness,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “We shot about 36 percent from the field, and they did a great job rebounding the basketball.”