A needed wake-up call

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Florida coach Billy Donovan said that the Gators responded well after he called them out for a lack of intensity to start the second half in UF’s preseason finale against Georgetown College.

“I think we had better practices from that,” Donovan said. “The thing I think all of the time and I’ve talked about this, it’s not so much the handling of expectations as it is the handling of prosperity, when you get recognized, when people talk favorably about you, positively about you.”

Florida comes into its season-opener Friday against UNC-Wilmington ranked No. 9 in the preseason AP men’s basketball poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

Donovan pointed out that while Florida held teams to 33 percent from the field and 24 percent from the 3-point line in the first half of its two preseason games, those percentages on defense dipped to 54 percent and 42 percent in the second half.

“It’s a mentality you have to have where the first four minutes starts in the second half and you send a message to that team where you know what, we’re not letting you back in the game,” Donovan said.

“I think it’s something they have to address. I think they are aware of it. I think they are trying to deal with it. But a lot of it is they have to change their mentality and their perspective, so to speak. There is kind of that killer mentality where you want to close it. We have to get to that, we don’t have it at the level I would like for us to have it.”

Other notes:

— Freshman 245-pound center Patric Young averaged 2.5 rebounds in the preseason. In last April’s McDonald’s All-American game, Young led all players with nine rebounds. “There were a few instances where they were doubling me and they just probably beat me and had me boxed out pretty well,” Young said. “But that opened up a lot of opportunities for my other teammates, like Casey (Prather) who had a double-double the first game. I think it was a little bit of nerves, too, those two games. But I expect to have more than two rebounds per game this coming year.”

— Donovan’s scouting report on UNC-Wilmington, coached by former Tennessee coach Buzz Peterson: “They are going to be a team that plays to about 19 feet defensively. They are a team that’s gonna be pretty physical in an around the basket. They’re not going to overly extend. They are going to play some 1-3-1 zone, they’ll play 1-3-1 zone underneath, out-of-bounds, they’ll run and jump the first pass. They’ll run some Princeton style offense where they will get the floor raised, a lot of back cuts, a lot of stagger screens. (There are) a lot of things we’ll have to be prepared for.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. Its going to be a long nite for the “Gators” friday nite. The combination of Rendleman and Tomko are going to be unstoppable then you throw in Milson and Morales for UNCW! Gators upset at the buzzer by Rendlemans duck with 2.3 seconds left. UNCW 67 UF 66!!!

  2. The sad part is…..Donovan does not know how to prepare for this team. They are undersized and fiesty! I sure hope UF has their turnover problems fixed if not….its going to be a long nite of high lights for Rendleman and Morales.

  3. Good write up, but tonite Rendleman is going to emerge as the megastar in the “Port City”! Look for Tomko to control the game with his scoring and patiences tonite. Grant will definitely lock Boynton down tonite and have him frustrated. Wilson is going to be a solid gaurdian tonite with block shots and rebounds. Morales and Milson are going to be the sleepers tonite, because no one knows anything about them. TV time for all the players tonite so look for the reserves to come off the bench and dominate. UNCW 67 UF 66!!!!!! NOW THIS IS COMING STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH!!!!!!!!!

  4. @BMOC…..trust me UNCW has nothing to lose and that is going to be the deciding factor. Everyone from the coach to the fans have pretty much written this team off this year. They are looking forward to the 8 freshmen we signed for next season. Trust me its something about this team that will give UF a run for their money. It is definitely going to be a reality check for some and a humbling experience for all.

  5. Toni, are you dating one of the players? Are you a player’s mom? How else could anyone possibly know so much about UNCW’s hoopsters? I’ll bet 99% of the students at that fine institute of higher learning (for kids who couldn’t get into UNC and couldn’t afford Wake or Duke) have no idea who’s on the basketball team.
    Bad news for Gator recruiting: great point guard from Miami Krop High, Angel Gonzalez, announcing today that he’s picking Kansas State over UF and Louisville. Too bad because he and Bradley Beal could’ve been the backcourt of the future.

  6. @nbcgator….I am the cousin of Rendleman and believe me the requiremnents and credentials of that fine institute of higher learning are either equal to or extremely close to the likes of UNC or DUKE. As far as if the students know any of the players….you’d be surprise how well received this team is. Bradley Beal was a good pick up for UF!!!!! UNCW 67 UF 66!!

  7. Good write up, but tonite Rendleman is going to emerge as the megastar in the “Port City”! Look for Tomko to control the game with his scoring and patiences tonite. Grant will definitely lock Boynton down tonite and have him frustrated. Wilson is going to be a solid gaurdian tonite with block shots and rebounds. Morales and Milson are going to be the sleepers tonite, because no one knows anything about them. TV time for all the players tonite so look for the reserves to come off the bench and dominate. UNCW 67 UF 66!!!!!! NOW THIS IS COMING STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSES MOUTH!!!!!!!!!
    by Toni Starxx
    .
    Actually, it came from the other end of the horse. Nice try, though.