In the first half of last Thursday’s game against Auburn, Florida sophomore guard Ray Shipman came up with a steal and had clear court in front of him for a breakaway dunk.
But Shipman was caught from behind and was fouled as he tried to finish. Shipman made both free-throws, but his inability to get to the basket with the same burst that he showed last November led some on press row to speculate that he wasn’t 100 percent healthy. Shipman suffered a hyper-extended knee in late November and point guard Erving Walker said that Shipman looked “a little stiff” following the Auburn game.
Yet Florida coach Billy Donovan said that Shipman hasn’t complained of any problems since returning from his knee injury.
“He has been fine,” Donovan said. “I haven’t noticed anything. He hasn’t missed any practices. There hasn’t been any situations where I had to keep him out of games or limit him at all.”
Shipman, Florida’s Mr. Basketball in 2008, has had to deal with a second straight season coming off the bench. This past offseason, Shipman lost 15 pounds in an effort to earn more playing time.
Shipman has had issues with shooting and ballhanding throughout his UF career. Donovan said he wants the sophomore to focus on creating offense through his defense. Shipman scored most of his season-high 10 points last November against Michigan State off turnovers.
Shipman is playing 12.9 minutes per game.
“I think sometimes when a player comes off the bench like that, sometimes you can move a lot better when you get a great lather on you,” Donovan said. “For him, he’s in a tough spot, playing three or four minutes, you come out, you sit eight or nine, you sweat, you’ve got to go in there, you’ve got to get going again.”