Slimmer sophomores

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Looking at the sophomores on the 2007-08 Florida men’s basketball team, you’ll notice something in common.

All three of their waistlines are slimmer.

Coincidence? Not exactly. All three made a point over the summer to work on conditioning and diet, which meant monitoring their ice cream trips to Coldstone, a favorite indulgence.

“Cake batter, strawberry, I go in there and sample everything,” sophomore forward Jonathan Mitchell said. “I already know what I want but I sample them anyway.”

That was until an edict came from Florida strength and conditioning coach Matt Herring ” watch your diet or else wake up for 6 a.m. running sessions at the UF track.

The 6-foot-7 Mitchell has slimmed down from 243 pounds to 228 pounds. Center Marreese Speights has dropped from 261 to 245 pounds and forward Dan Werner also has lost close to 10 pounds.

“He has to lose a couple of more,” Mitchell said. “We help him. We go out to eat and say Dan, you can’t get this, OK, Dan, no more. It was his birthday the other day, so we allowed him to slide and have an extra slice of cake.”

At Coldstone, of course.

Mitchell said he feels the results of the lost weight on the court. His vertical leap is four inches higher than at this point a season ago.

“I feel quicker, more explosive,” Mitchell said. “In the SEC, there are a lot tough threes (small forwards) and twos (shooting guards) out there. Corey (Brewer) is my idol, so I want to be a defensive stopper.”