So far in this young season, the Florida basketball team is a bit of a mystery.
Coming off two straight NCAA appearances, the Gators entered the season unranked despite returning three starters and a highly-rated freshman class coming in.
Through three games — one blowout loss on the road and two blowout wins at home — Florida fans aren’t sure what to think of their team.
That should change over the next three days.
The Gators will play three games in three days in Paradise Island, Bahamas, in the Battle 4 Atlantis that should tell coach Mike White a lot more about what this team is made of.
“Absolutely, yeah,” White said. “I don’t know how you don’t find out a lot more about yourselves after this trip. Three games, three days, three high-major opponents, neutral sites, quick preps.
“A lot of it is going to be about ourselves, more so than a normal game with the quick turnarounds. Hopefully, we’ll find out a lot more positive about our team, than negative.”
It starts today at noon when the Gators (2-1) face Oklahoma (3-0), coached by former UF coach Lon Kruger. The Gators will play either Stanford or Wisconsin on Thursday and one of four remaining teams in the tournament on Friday.
By the time the team returns to Gainesville, White hopes to have some answers.
“I’ve never been a huge rotation guy, but we’ve got to get where we’re more accountable, learn more about what we’re getting from each guy, and from there allocate minutes more accordingly to try to help guys find some kind of flow offensively,” White said. “Somehow, we’d like to get Jalen (Hudson) and KeVaughn (Allen) going at the same time. We need to get Keith
Stone going. And then continue to tighten up defensively, although I’m not too displeased where we are defensively, right now.”
Hudson leads the Gators scoring, but his offense has been erratic at best. Allen has not recorded a field goal in two of Florida’s first three games and Stone is averaging only 5.3 points a game.
“I think it’ll be a good experience for us and it’ll definitely tell us where we are and what we need to work on,” Hudson said. “We’re ready to kind of show the coaches that we’re better than what they think we are. We’re going to continue to improve and get better and win some games.”
What: Battle 4 Atlantis
Who: Florida (2-1) vs. Oklahoma (3-0)
When: 12 p.m.
Where: Paradise Island, Bahamas
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850
KeVaughn Allen; G; 6-2; Sr.; 7.2 ppg; 2.0 spg
Jalen Hudson; G; 6-6; Sr.; 12.0 ppg; 2.2 rpg
Andrew Nembhard; G; 6-5; Fr.; 7.7 ppg; 5.7 apg
Keith Stone; F; 6;8; Jr.; 5.3 ppg; 3.7 rpg
Kevarrius Hayes; C; 6-9; Sr.; 7.0 ppg; 5.3 rpg
Kristian Doolittle; F; 6-7; Jr.; 7.7 ppg; 7.7 rpg.
Brady Manek; F; 6-9; So.; 13.3 ppg; 11.3 rpg
Jamuni McNeace; C; 6-10; Sr.; 7.0 ppg; 6.3 rpg
Christian James; G; 6-4; Sr.; 22.7 ppg; 3.7 rpg
Aaron Calixte; G; 5-11; Sr.; 13.3; ppg; 2.0 rpg
NOTES: Florida is 4-0 against Big 12 teams under coach Mike White including an 84-52 win at Oklahoma two seasons ago … In that game, center Kevarrius Hayes had a career-high 20 points off the bench … Florida has played in this tournament once in 2014, going 1-2 under Billy Donovan … White insists he’s not concerned with Florida’s poor shooting from 3. “It just hasn’t shown up in games, yet,” he said. “I really do have faith that we’re going to shoot it well this year, especially with sharing it a little better over the last couple games.”
— Pat Dooley