Gator Hoops – #6 Ranked

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    • #44983

      Just a rank to start the season, but six is a bit optimistic. Too many new faces.

      Top twenty is realistic. There’s a lot of different parts and pieces that have to come together quickly for the Gators and Coach Mike White this season.

      The Florida State game will be the early test and ACC measuring stick, with Uconn a week later. That’s a short amount of time for Florida to pull together and play at a high level as a team.

    • #44984
      Sly Sylvester

      If this is going to be a championship caliber team, here are the things (roles) I’m looking for to emerge by the time conference play starts:

      1. Does the team have an emotional leader to inspire the team to take it up another notch when they run out of gas or face adversity?

      2. Do we have at least one shooter who can be relied upon to consistently make 3’s in the order of at least 40%?

      3. Do we have an elite defender who can put a lid on the opposing team’s superstar scorer?

      4. Do we someone who enjoys and is successful at doing the dirty work like getting rebounds, go after loose balls, and do the little stuff that frustrates opposing teams by preventing them from getting into a flow?

      • #44989
        Joe Shiver

        Sly, those are excellent questions. I think Nembhard will be the leader. You could see it starting late last season, and from quotes I’ve read, I think he will emerge this season. If Locke can stay healthy, I think he’s your 40% 3-point shooter. Lewis could be the elite defender. He has that reputation, but we won’t know until he faces Power 5 competition. Johnson will be your workhorse, dirty work guy. They have all the pieces on paper, minus some experience. I think CMW’s biggest challenge will be blending the returning sophomores with Blackshear and the freshmen to form a good team chemistry and manage everyone’s egos.

        • #45007
          Sly Sylvester

          Joe – Those are great candidates to fill them roles. We shall see. Really looking forward to this season.

    • #44998

      Hope everyone spent the summer practicing free throws. Agree Fla. State will be a good measure. Used to be an automatic UF win, and needs to be again, starting with a one-sided ass whuppin’ this season.

    • #45025

      Appreciate all the comments and thoughts.

      It’s a been awhile since the Florida hoops program has been so highly regarded in a first poll. I just think some essential ingredients in a formula for success are unproven, lack depth or may even be missing as the season opens.

      Minimizing injuries will be hyper-critical. When you look at all the roles, Nembhard and Blackshear are especially key.

      Outside, we have the young guns to keep us over 40. Our dribble drive capability should also improve.

      My concern lingers from the last couple of seasons, an inside presence. Not a good start with two big men already gimpy or unavailable before the first tip of the season. Sure we have Blackshear, but he will often be double-teamed. That puts more reliance on the power forward role on both ends of the court.

      Kevarius Hayes, Kieth Stone, Isiah Stokes, Deaondrae Ballard are gone. Now Dontay Bassett is out for at least the early part of this season. What happens when the banging begins? Where on the roster stat sheet, can we expect to regain the lost beef, rebounds and points?

      I don’t want to sound too critical. Because we can rely on perimeter shooting, dribble drive baskets, fouls and making the free-throws. We’ll have the personnel to do that.

      With so many new faces, early games will be part of the learning curve. Our pre-conference schedule is brutal. So it may not be a uneventful start to what has the potential to be a great season for Gator Basketball.

      It’s just a narrower path than a #6 ranking suggests.

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