Which team would you take, 2012 Gators or 2011 Gators?

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In thinking about the state of this season’s Florida basketball team, I was reminded of a comment that senior point guard Erving Walker made last October.

Perhaps it stemmed from preseason optimism. Or maybe Walker saw the additions of Bradley Beal and Mike Rosario and Patric Young moving into the starting lineup as what the Gators needed to get over the hump.

But when I asked Walker about concerns about unselfishness with such a guard-heavy team, Walker responded: “I mean, no disrespect to last year’s team, but this year’s team is more talented,” Walker said. “I think there is a respect level that you have for one another when you play with other guys on the floor who are as talented as you are.”

More talented, but are they a better team?

You could have easily made the argument a week ago, when Florida took a seven-game winning streak into its matchup with No. 1 Kentucky. The Gators failed to win seven in a row all last season.

But a 20-point loss to the Wildcats followed by a home hangover loss to Tennessee have left Florida fans wondering if this group can make the NCAA Tournament, let alone the Elite Eight.

Florida already has as many SEC losses (3) as it did all of last season. Chandler Parsons and Vernon Macklin were NBA second-round draft picks last season, and Parsons is now starting for the Houston Rockets. Alex Tyus left Florida a 1,000-point scorer who was eighth on the all-time UF list in blocked shots (115).

In reality, Beal may be every bit as talented (or even moreso) than Parsons. But Parsons is 6-foot-10, while Beal is 6-3.  With its three-guard starting lineup, Florida’s rebounding and interior defense has been exposed due to its lack of size.

The 247-pound Young has had little to no help underneath the basket and has played since January with a gimpy ankle.

The last time Florida started three guards was in 2007-08. That season, the Gators started 18-3 but wound up in the NIT after folding down the stretch.

There is still time for this team to regroup, but with injuries to Mike Rosario and Will Yeguete, a tough test awaits. Florida plays four of if its next five games on the road, beginning tonight at Alabama.

Which team would you take, the 2010-11 Gators or the 2011-12 Gators? What are your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

18 COMMENTS

  1. I’d take the 2010-11 team for one simple reason: senior leadership. It really cannot be over-valued. I love Erv, and he’s done so much for this team, but trying to lead this team on his own is so difficult. Nobody else has really stepped up in that capacity.

    Is the current team more talented? Probably, but our talent is so loaded to one side of the game that other teams can take advantage of that and design good defenses for us that force us to turn the ball over more, rush offensive possessions where we aren’t getting good looks, and make us a one-dimensional team.

    The question is can this team turn on that switch towards the end of the season. It still has yet to find it, but maybe it will starting tonight.

  2. I’d take last years team in a heartbeat. They seemed to work better as a team, and knew the fight it took to win the SEC. While this team may have more raw talent, they need to figure out how to use it as a team, and fast.

  3. I would also take the 2010-2011 team. Last years team had post players who could scored consistently and defend well enough not to ever have to do the offense/defense substitutions. They were also a better rebounding team. No way this years team has more talent, just better 3 point shooting. They are not as skilled and they do not defend as well. Last but not least, the SEC is not as good as it was last season. Last season nearly every team in the SEC could beat you, not so this year.

  4. Wonder what the response would’ve been had this question been posted a week ago. I’ll go with this years team. More upside with this team, if they get hot from the outside. Need Patric to get completely healthy. Beal is just starting to take over games in stretches where he was deferring to others earlier this season. Love that everyone is writing them off after one bad week.

  5. I would take last year’s outfit at this point, too. Chandler Parsons should be regarded as one of the most explosive players in the program’s history, and I was a contemporary of Neal Walk. Parsons’ development and leadership, along with that of Macklin and Tyus were excellent complements to the play of Boynton and Walker. Our current team is one 6-9 power forward from maybe playing for everything. Meanwhile, we need Yeguette back and able to be full go.
    We’ve gotta chance.

  6. 2010-2011. Senior leadership and this year a freshman is the best player on the floor. Walker and Boynton make too many mistakes and force way too many bad shots. Patrick will be great but he has to get tougher with guys that are his size and ability.

  7. This year’s team has better talent as Beal and Young are projected as first round/lottery picks whereas Parsons and Macklin went in the second round. Compare this year’s team make- up to last year’s Butler team that went to the NC game. The type of talent is very comparable. Three guards with two bigs. The question is can we make big shots like Butler and can we get our guys healthy. PS: What is the story on Pitchford. He’s 6-10 and can’t be worse the Prather the turnover machine. A major recruiting bust?

  8. I always like Tyus (with his dreds), Parsons and Macklin. Always felt we had a chance with their leadership and experience. This year’s UK game did not surprise me because this team has a major problem with serious adversity and moving past poor plays/games.

  9. I really like this years team, BUT 2011 was better. If Walker could learn to play under MORE control this years team would be better. In 4 years of playing he still goes crazy wild and loses control to often. He is a talented young man and I like and respect him alot, but we need more control and we will be in the BIG dance.

  10. You have to go with last years team due to the fact we at least had a low post presence. Young has no game. I don’t care if he has a bum ankle. He is lost when he gets the ball. Can’t shoot a 10 ft jumper and is soft on defense. How was this a guy a McDonalds All American?
    He is a liability on the court.

  11. Last yr’s team had a strong front line and competed well with other front lines. Biggest reason why the back-to-backs succeeded….best front line in the country. Most teams have good guards…..need is for talented and athletic fowards. I vote for last yr’s team

  12. The Gators had the best front line in the nation last year. They were under utilized in regular season and in the NCAA tournament, which is why we lost to Butler. Funny how people are starting to realize how good Tyus and Macklin were.

  13. I like talent level but they have limited low post play. Patric doesn’t get enough work in during games in the low post because all the guards are shooting.

    Don’t overlook the obvious. I think we have too many guards.

  14. I like both of the teams equally. I of course have hindsight of watching the entire tournament in 2012. I have always stated Donovan has some of the best talent in the nation perenially. But because of Billy Ball (pass, pass, extra pass 3-point shot), he gets stopped in the NCAAs before his team.

    We all had a chance to see all the Final Four teams attacked the paint and the rim to take leads, dig out of deep holes, stop runs of other teams. In general, that is how the Final Four teams play. Get the ball in the paint and to the rim primarily, and compliment that with timely 3 point shooting. Billy Ball has always been, with the exception of 2000 and the two title years, about jump shooting, with inside scoring an afterthought.

    In the NCAAs jump shooting oriented offense usually catch up to teams. It did us in against BYU and Louisville. Both teams UF had more talent than. William in both games could have changes the outcomes and helped his talent prevail if he he forced selfish Walker to dump the ball inside to the post players we had last year and Young this year. And direct capable Boynton to take the ball hard, fast, and often, like we saw with all the Final Four guards, to the rim forcing fouls or finishing for a high percentage shot.

    We had a great front line last year and they should have been fed the rock lat year. They left the BYU game disgusted with the peremiter guys for not getting them the ball. We had a weakened Louisville front line due to fouls and we didn’t to inside to take advantage of it. We have guards capable of going to the paint: Boynton, Rosario, and Beal. They were successful going to the basket, but the team doesn’t do it enough. Walker and Wilbikin can’t and won’t score in the paint, therefore should have had their minutes limited.

    At some point, you would have thought when he won a titles with dominating inside the paint, Donovan would learn and coach his team to do what all championship teams do, which is put pressure on defenses with their consistent determination to finish with high percentage shots or draw fouls in the paint.

    Billy Ball is a regular season and early round style. Less Billy Ball and more of what the top teams were doing this tournament and Billy would be in a Final Four every 3 years. He has the talent. But his front court gets waisted. Thank God the 04s had a point guard who knew where to go with the ball, without Donvans directions, to his boys up front. And we had front courts with personalities and pedigrees bigger than Donovan and took matters into their own hands. That four knew had to play the game and hijacked Billy Ball for two seasons, and dominated in the paint. Brewer attached the rim. Green got in the paint consistently and did work. And Humphries and Green provided complimentary timely shooting, aided by collapsed defenses. They didn’t hoist a ton of shots or spend a lot of time swinging the ball around for a lower percentage three point shot. They went after the rim the moment an opportunity presented itself.

    William has to reorientate himself and ratchet down Billy Ball and become more conventional. He hasn’t and will not reinvent the game of basketball. Jump shooting is not going to win titles. The athletes are to great. Deep in the NCAAs the athletes will defend your jump shooters on a jump shooting offense.