Werner’s new role

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Senior forward Dan Werner is growing accustomed to his new role as Florida’s sixth man.

Werner had a string of 70 straight starts snapped when he came down with the flu before Florida’s third Southeastern Conference game against LSU. By the time Werner fully recovered, the Gators had won two straight. Florida coach Billy Donovan then decided to keep junior Chandler Parsons in the starting lineup.

Werner said Donovan explained to him why he made the change.

“Basically he said it was nothing I did wrong or anything, he just said he feels like the team is rolling really good right now with the lineup so he’s just going keep it, to understand that I’m still a big part of this team and and I just do a lot for the team on the court,” Werner said.
“He said to me ‘I’d rather be in at the end of the game then at the start.’  It’s not that big of a deal to me. I’d rather be on the end of the game when it really matters.”
Though Werner hasn’t provided the same offensive production off the bench as Parsons, he’s made some key contributions during UF’s stretch of six wins in seven days. At Alabama, Werner batted back a Crimson Tide in bounds pass attempt that allowed the clock to run out in a 66-65 win. On Saturday against Mississippi State, Werner hit two clutch free throws late and batted back a loose ball with 44 seconds left that allowed the Gators to retain possession on a missed free throw.
In his seven games off the bench, Werner is still averaging more than 20 minutes per game. But the move to the bench hasn’t helped him shake his career-long shooting woes. Werner is 1-for-9 from 3-point range in seven games off the bench and 3-for-17 from 3-point range in SEC play.
Werner said he’s shooting the ball as well as ever in practice and that Donovan still gives him the green light to shoot in games.
“Obviously you want to go out there and make shots, but that’s not the only thing I bring to the team,” Werner said. “If it was I wouldn’t be playing a lot because I know I’m not doing a great job making shots. It’s definitely frustrating you go in there in the gym, you work hard and you make shots in the gym and it doesn’t translate on the court.”
Werner said he tries to avoid reading newspapers or the Internet during the season. Most of the criticism of his game, he says, he hears second-hand from family or friends. He also said he tries to block out the occasional grumbling from the student section during UF home games.
“I’m sure there are people out there who like me a lot and there are people who don’t really like me,” Werner said. “I can’t really control that. I know I help this team win and play well so that’s keeping my head up, and I know my teammates appreciate me, they tell me that, and that’s all that matters.”
Werner said he also appreciates the support from Donovan.
“It means a lot to me,” Werner said. “I know there are is some stuff out there, people saying stuff and he’s always standing up for me. So it makes me feel really good.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. How can you not like Werner. He’s a hustler and works his butt off for this team. I too wish he’d start making some shots–the other teams aren’t respecting him with any “D”. He just keeps making really BIG plays for the GATORS.

  2. Dan is a class act and a wonderful representative for the university. I’m sure he is more frustrated then any internet posters about his shooting woes. However, he is one of the few I would want shooting free throws at the end of a close game. Hang in there, Dan. Keep up the hard work, and hope those shots start to fall. I for one will be proud to give you a standing “O” on Senior Day against Vandy.

  3. No doubt Werner is overthinking his shooting. It will come around if he can relax.

    He gets 20 minutes a game because he does so many of the little things so well. Love his hustle in the paint. Scoring would be nice and it does grab the focus of a lot of fans. Seeing him doing the grunt work in so many ways is noticed by the hard core Gator Basketball fans.

    Maybe the scoring will come back for the tournaments. If not, I hope he continues filling the role that enables his teamates to focus on their scoring games. It’s a role that has Chris Richards playing in the NBA. Werner doesn’t have the inside power of Richards. But, his is a natural shooter that has psyched himself out. Hopefully it gels for him while still playing for the Gators. 6’8″ intelligent basketball player that knows how to play team ball, with huge upside potential in his outside shooting game. A good catch.

  4. Dan is “very very” terrible. He is the reason why we have been NIT city for the last 2 years and I have no clue why I keep playing him. Dan, please graduate and stop making me feel bad for you for being from New Jersey and being our only senior.

  5. Hey Brock, Why doesn’t somebody address the “Big Choke” that was last night’s game in Columbia. Jeez, I’m really getting tired of, its such a young team. It looks more like a very undisciplined team. 20 turnovers, poor free throw shooting. This team has no business getting into the NCCA Tournament, especially if they could not beat a South Carolina team that was destroyed in Knoxville & was playing with their best player hurt.

  6. Werner’s role should be off the bench. Can’t shoot 3’s, no jump shot, no dribble-drive shoot or pass. An offensive liability. Macklin displays all-pro talent one game, all-sewer ability the next. Turnovers? who wouldda tought a Billy D. team would have 20 to’s and shoot 43 percent from the line. FG percentage higher than Ft percentage. Might be a record. Gators in danger of missing big dance for 3rd straight year. Need 21 wins and at least one in the SEC tourney.