White: Nothing wrong with Hayes

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Florida coach Mike White said there was nothing physically wrong with freshman forward Kevarrius Hayes on Tuesday night against Georgia.

The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Hayes had appeared in each of UF’s first 25 games off the bench for the Gators before not playing against the Bulldogs due to a coach’s decision.

With starting center John Egbunu in foul trouble in the first half, White opted to play Schuyler Rimmer at center for the final seven minutes as Egbunu sat on the bench with two fouls. Egbunu played most of the second half, remaining out of foul trouble the rest of the game, and keyed UF’s interior defense with five blocked shots.

“We continue to make daily evaluations,” White said. “I meet with our staff the day of the game and we just kind of discuss, ‘hey, first big off the bench, what are your thoughts?’ First guard off the bench, first wing off the bench. And sometimes the decision we make then carries over, and sometimes it doesn’t.

“But I just went with a hunch that Schuyler would do some good things. Who knows who will be the first big off the bench in the next one or who will start.”

In 25 games and two starts for the Gators this season, Hayes has averaged 2.0 points and 2.5 rebounds with 14 blocked shots.

With Hayes and Rimmer (1.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg) unable to provide offense off the bench when Egbunu is in foul trouble, White was asked if he considered going to a smaller frontline with 6-8 Dorian Finney-Smith at center, flanked by 6-8 forwards Justin Leon and Devin Robinson. Former Florida coach Billy Donovan sometimes played Finney-Smith at the center spot.

“We’ve thought about it,”  White said. “Justin Leon made a really good post move with his back to the basket against Alabama on Jimmie Taylor. That was as good of an interior production as we had in that one. We thought about playing him some at the five and Dorian at the five.

“Defensively in the post, it would be new to those guys, for sure. We’ll continue to evaluate it, it would just be hard for us to do, in that we haven’t done it. But it’s there in itty-bitty letters at the bottom of our plan as an option maybe. A very, very small option.”