There’s less than a month until the Florida men’s basketball team tips off regular-season play, and already the team’s depth has taken a hit.
Fourth-year center Gorjok Gak will once again miss a significant portion of the regular season after suffering an injury in Tuesday’s practice, Florida coach Mike White said Thursday.
“Gorjok Gak, unfortunately and unbelievably, is hurt again. Feel horrible for him. He dislocated his left shoulder. He’ll be out for some time,” White said. “He’s decided to rehab it and give this team what he can give them, and in time, when he’s able to get out there, and how much time, remains to be seen. He’s out for whenever. We don’t have a time frame.”
Considering a dislocated shoulder can take up to four months to heal, it remains to be seen if Gak will see the court for the second-straight season.
“I just feel horrible for (Gak). He’s been playing really, really well. If we had a game tomorrow, heck, he probably had an argument for being the first guy off the bench and log significant minutes for this team. He’s spent the better part of the last two years in training and now, here he is, playing his butt off. Part of life, I guess,” White said. “Hopefully, he’ll be back at 100 percent sooner than later and he can contribute to this team.”
Bassett, Blackshear and freshmen must step up
With Gak, one of five players returning to the Gators from last season’s team, set to miss a significant portion of time, Florida is down to just four eligible and healthy players in the frontcourt to fill out the rotations. Of those four, sophomore Keyontae Johnson and redshirt junior Dontay Bassett are the lone two returners, although graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear will undoubtedly command a bulk of the minutes in the post.
However, with the injury to Gak — and with Bassett just returning as a full participant in practice from a minor ankle injury — the Gators understand the importance of expediting the development of freshmen Jason Jitoboh and Omar Payne.
“Those two freshmen bigs have got to be ready, and we’ve got to find a way to eliminate defensive mistakes and find offensive role definition for those guys in practice. Dontay Bassett has to step up, of course,” White said.
Gators not there yet defensively
Through two weeks of practice, White said those defensive miscues were the most glaring issues facing the team.
“We’re not very good defensively right now, which is scary with our schedule, of course. We’ve got time, we just don’t have a lot of time,” White said, noting the other side of the ball is an entirely different equation. “Offensively, I like the way we’re sharing the ball. It’s moving a bit. We’re pretty versatile, especially considering how we’ve been the last couple years. That’s kind of where we are, a recap of where we are.”
Glover most accountable freshman early on
Of Florida’s five 2019 class signees, freshman point guard Ques Glove comes with the most intrigue. Standing just shy of 6-foot, Glover committed to the Gators just two weeks before Signing Day in April, giving UF its second freshman point guard.
The three-star prospect has impressed in his first two weeks of preseason camp — although, as expected, he’ll need time to adjust to the collegiate level.
“He has been arguably our most accountable freshman so far. Really tough, really tough. Fast, strong, quick. Has already learned a lot at the point guard position, was a high-volume scorer, really in AAU and in high school, and won a state championship, and he’s adjusted to playing with a bunch of other really good players. And receptive, learning, coachable,” White said of Glover. “He’s been great, but he’s a freshman, too, so he’s got a lot of area for improvement, of course, just like these other guys. But he’s been good.”