Florida basketball faces Georgia Tech in 'secret' scrimmage


Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 24, 2013 at 6:52 p.m.

After 10 days of practicing with limited numbers, Florida coach Billy Donovan is looking forward to a change.

Facts

Saturday's exhibition game

Florida vs. Georgia Tech at Valdosta, Ga.
- Per NCAA rules, the game won't be open to fans and the media.

The Gators will get that when they travel to Valdosta, Ga., to face Georgia Tech in a “secret” scrimmage on Saturday. Per NCAA rules, the game won't be open to fans and the media. But it should give Donovan a gauge of how his banged-up team will respond to adversity.

“Going there Saturday, I'm hopeful that we will have eight or nine guys we can rely on and use in the scrimmage,” Donovan said. “We'll have a little more depth. Because when we're practicing against each other, our numbers have been very, very small.”

How small? Donovan said that Florida had just six players available for practice last Sunday, and canceled Monday's practice. Casey Prather missed three practices with a hamstring injury and sophomore guard Dillon Graham is still out with a sprained ankle he suffered last week in practice. Sophomore forward Dorian Finney-Smith suffered a strained tendon in his ankle on Wednesday in practice.

“He landed funny yesterday trying to chase down a guy from behind,” Donovan said.

Donovan said senior forward Will Yeguete (knee surgery) probably won't play in the scrimmage, while junior guard Eli Carter (broken leg) will be available in spots. Donovan said he's been pleased with what he's seen from Carter in practice.

“You can tell he's a guy that's a veteran guy,” Donovan said. “Even being somewhat hobbled he can be productive because he understands how to play. He understands extra passing, he understands ball movement, he understands spacing, he really understands how to come off screens, he knows how to use screens,

“Those kind of things, he's already got down. The biggest thing for us is just getting him to a point where he's moving, cutting and sprinting in a way to where he's somewhat back to where he was.”

Junior center Damontre Harris also is back at practice after sitting out a week with a hamstring injury. When asked to assess Harris, Donovan said: “Really out of shape. He's got a long way to go. Cardiovascularly, that's got to be an issue for him. He's got to work through the conditioning piece of it because he's really not anywhere where he needs to be at all cardiovascularly.”

Donovan said he's hopeful to have Graham back on Monday and hasn't ruled out Finney-Smith for Saturday's scrimmage.

“It's going to feel pretty good to go beat up on somebody other than ourselves,” Florida senior center Patric Young said. “Hopefully we'll have enough guys out there that can give Georgia Tech a good enough scrimmage. So it will be good for both teams.”

Young said he's confident that the Gators will iron out their health issues and build continuity during the course of the season. Florida's preseason opener is Nov. 1 against Florida Southern and its season opener is Nov. 8 at the O'Connell Center against UNF.

“It's a long season,” Young said. “If we're not OK in the beginning of the season, it's OK. We have plenty of games down the road. As long as we peak at the right time, that's all that matters.”

Frazier back 100 percent

Sophomore guard Michael Frazier II said he's back to 100 percent at practice after sitting out last week with a viral infection.

“I'm trying to get my wind back,” Frazier said. “I would say right now that's the biggest issue, trying to get back in shape.”

Frazier was tested for mononucleosis last week, but the test came back negative. Frazier said he had body aches, bad headaches and a sore throat, all symptoms for mono.

“It was scary,” Frazier said. “I was praying I didn't have it. But luckily, I didn't have it.”

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