Vernon Macklin should help Florida this season because at 6-10, 240 pounds, he’ll provide an experienced presence at center the Gators lacked last season.
But the question remains whether Macklin, a transfer who failed to crack the starting lineup at Georgetown, can be an effective low-post scoring option this season for the Gators.
A former McDonald’s All-American, Macklin showed flashes of his offensive ability off the bench for the Hoyas. He scored a career-high 18 points in 26 minutes against St. John’s as a sophomore. And he added 10 points and 12 minutes against Pittsburgh. But as a sophomore, Macklin averaged just 3.4 points per game in 12.8 minutes off the bench.
A more alarming stat — Macklin was a career 31 percent free throw shooter (22-71) in two seasons with the Hoyas. With the potential for more playing time, there is hope that Macklin will find a better rhythm from the line. But if Macklin’s free-throw shooting woes don’t improve, don’t be surprised to see teams employ a “hack-a-Mack” strategy and take their chances from the charity stripe.
So far, Florida coach Billy Donovan has been encouraged by what he’s seen from Macklin in practice.
“I think he’s gotten better offensively,” Donovan said. ” To sit there and say he’s going to be a low-post offensive scorer for us, I don’t know. But I do feel comfortable getting the ball to him, I do think he can score from there.”
Likewise, Florida freshman guard Kenny Boynton has been impressed with Macklin’s scoring: “Vernon Macklin I think he’s pretty underrated as a scorer,” Boynton said. “He has great post moves, is a great finisher.”
Asked about Macklin’s free-throw shooting, Boynton chuckled: “I don’t know about that,” Boynton said. “We’re all working hard there.”