Florida basketball: 3 takeaways from Gators' Orange and Blue scrimmage at O'Connell Center

Kevin Brockway
Gator Sports
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Florida held its Orange and Blue scrimmage on Tuesday at the O'Connell Center for its final tuneup before the start of the regular season.

Sophomore guard Will Richard sank three 3-pointers and scored 14 points to lead the blue squad to a 34-29 win over the white squad in the 20-minute scrimmage portion of the event. Sophomore Kowacie Reeves had 8 points for the white squad, scoring six of the points on a 3-pointer and a three-point play in the lane.

About 2,000 fans showed up, a mix of students and season-ticket holders, to get a first glimpse of the team before next Monday's season opener at the O'Dome against Stony Brook (7 p.m., SEC Network Plus).

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It also was a good day for the walk-ons as Alex Klatsky won the 3-point shooting contest, edging Myreon Jones in the final round. Jack May won the halfcourt shooting contest, sinking a halfcourt heave on his first attempt. Junior guard Niels Lane won the dunk contest and scored six points during the scrimmage.

Florida Gators guard Niels Lane (4) dunks the ball during the slam dunk contest during the Orange & Blue Scrimmage at Billy Donovan Court at Exactech Arena in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

 First-year Florida coach Todd Golden said the main goal of the event was to just get through it healthy.

 "These things are tough because it's a mixture of you are trying to compete but at the same time it's a little bit of a glorified all-star game," Golden said.

 Here are three takeaways from Golden's comments following the scrimmage:

Gators run deep

Golden said what has surprised him most in camp is the depth on the roster. Other than Colin Castleton at center and Kyle Lofton at point guard, Golden said Florida's other three starting positions remain open.

"It's a challenge for me and the staff to really drill down on an eight-man rotation at this point," Golden said. "To be honest, we can't. We wouldn't try. We have a number of guys we feel really good about."

Can Florida stop early struggles?

In Florida's second closed scrimmage against Jacksonville over the weekend, Golden said the Gators struggled in the first four minutes of the game before turning up the intensity the final 36 minutes.

"We played with a lot more purpose on both ends of the ball after the first four minutes," Golden said, "We were really physical. That was something I was really concerned about after the Miami game; Jacksonville is a very physical team ... that was something we were really concerned about and we were able to match their physicality on their floor."

Colin Castleton healing well after offseason surgery

Florida Gators forward Colin Castleton (12) looks to pass during the Orange & Blue Scrimmage at Billy Donovan Court at Exactech Arena in Gainesville, FL on Tuesday, November 1, 2022. [Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun]

Golden said Florida's best player, Castleton, is in a good place physically going into the season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

"We were just super careful bringing him back, but he's been healthy," Golden said. "He gets (mad) at me a lot because I'm really limiting his reps in practice. It's a long year and I want him to be ready, not only on Nov. 7 but through January, February, March, into the SEC Tournament. I think his body is in the best place it's been."

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