Florida freshman guard Ray Shipman possesses some of the qualities that the Gators could use down the stretch.
Shipman is an athletic man-to-man defender capable of finishing at the rim and on the break.
So what’s holding the 6-foot-4 Shipman back from more playing time? Part of it has to do with Florida’s scheme. Because Florida is playing more zone due to its lack of size in the post and athletic ability on the perimeter, the coaching staff is asking Shipman and the rest of its freshmen to absorb more mentally.
“Ray would probably be better if we were just to play straight man-to-man and he could play somebody man-to-man,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “That would be easier for Ray but sometimes, that being good for Ray it might not be the best thing for the other four guys out there. You try to figure out how to balance and work with all of those guys together.”
Offensively, Shipman has had issues with his ball-handling and shot selection. But he showed signs of offensive improvement Sunday against Tennessee. Shipman came off the bench to score five points on a driving baseline layup and a big 3-pointer in the corner during Florida’s failed late comeback bid against the Vols.
“I knew coming in, we have a lot of offensive talent here,” Shipman said. “I didn’t know it would be like this. I thought I would be able to get a little more in the offense. One thing I can do is just work. I can control that. Something I’m doing now, whether it’s in the gym or not stressing as much, is starting to help.”