Some tidbits from UF’s first two practices on Friday and Saturday:
– Florida coach Billy Donovan is pleased with the overall conditioning of his team. Donovan said that freshman guard Kenny Boynton has arrived in good shape and freshman forward Erik Murphy has arrived in “very good” shape. That’s allowed Donovan to raise the intensity level in practice: “The level of intensity they just sustained in there for two hours, last year they would have had no shot to sustain that,” Donovan said. “Now the execution part of it, I still think there’s a lot of things we have to get better at. We’re still spending a lot of time on defense. I think we’ll be better defensively but we have to be more of a cohesive group, playing together on the defensive end of the floor. Instinctively we’re a team that really passes and moves the ball unselfishly.”
– Donovan said despite the loss of two-time school assist record holder Nick Calathes, he expected the Gators to play as unselfish as last season: “I don’t know if we’re going to have a player like Nick to get seven or assists per game which in a way could even be a positive because I think the one thing I’ve watched from the last two days is we’re very unselfish,” Donovan said. “We’re an unselfish ball moving team.
“I think with Nick he was so good at making plays and finding people, that the ball was in his hands all of the time. I think we could be a team that could average just as much assists, if not more, but you are probably going to have a group of guys between 3-5 assists instead of having a guy with eight assists. Boynton is a good passer, Murphy is a good passer, Erving Walker is a good passer, Dan Werner, Chandler Parsons we have a good passing team and an unselfish team.”
– Donovan said that he and Adam Allen (knee) discussed the possibility of a transfer over the summer or getting a medical hardship, but that Allen wanted to try to return this season. “For his own peace of mind, he told me he wanted to try to get back and recover,” Donovan said. “I was totally fine with that.”
– Donovan pointed out that Boynton, an incoming McDonald’s All-American freshman guard, has already done a good job blending in with his teammates: “Kenny has unbelievable belief in himself, but there is a level of humility and he has done a great job endearing himself to his teammates,” Donovan said. “When you have a high profile players coming in, you always have players kind of look to see what he’s like. But I think he’s done such a good job and is such a great kid, he hasn’t come in with arrogance.”
– Overall, Donovan is pleased with the maturity of his team: “I feel different being around these guys than I did last year,” Donovan said. “I think they’re older. Vernon Macklin really should be a senior in college is a junior now, Chandler is a junior, Dan Werner is a senior, Erving Walker who played a lot as a freshman is a sophomore, I think what (Ray) Shipman went through as a freshman, Kenny Boynton is a good highly recruited kid as is Murphy. I just think there are some pieces there where some of our kids have grown up a little bit physically and mentally.”