Jacksonville talking points: What’s wrong with Chandler?


Before Florida’s season began, senior forward Chandler Parsons served as the poster boy for the program.

Game winning shots against North Carolina State and South Carolina elevated Parsons’ confidence, By the end of his junior season, Parsons emerged as Florida’s go-to guy late. Billy Donovan lauded Parsons’ growth and maturity on and off court.

Yet Parsons hasn’t been the same since going 1-for-9 from the floor and 1-for-6 from the free throw line in his horrendous homecoming game against UCF.

Parsons entered the UCF game averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Since, Parsons has scored in double-figures just once (a 13-point effort against American), averaging 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. Parsons has had 15 assists to 11 turnovers during that span.

One turnover was particularly crushing. With 24 seconds left in regulation, Parsons allowed Jacksonville senior forward Ayron Hardy to wrestle the ball away from him. Hardy broke free for a tying breakaway layup which forced overtime.

I asked Donovan if he was concerned about Parsons’ confidence following the Jacksonville loss.

“I’m really not,” Donovan said. “Being a senior in college and playing 30 minutes, I think confidence has to come from within, inside yourself.”

Parsons was not available for interviews following the game.

“I don’t know if he’s confident or if he’s not confident,” Donovan said. “I think the one thing I’ve always said that I love about competition is that it’s the most unprejudiced thing that goes on. It does not care what you did yesterday, 10 hours ago, two weeks ago, a month ago, 24 hours ago or even 36 hours ago. When the ball gets thrown up, that’s it, it’s between the lines.”

Donovan said following UF’s win over Kent State that he envisions Parsons as a “point-forward” who needs to make players around him better. But Parsons seems to have been deferential to a fault since Florida’s loss to UCF. He attempted just six shots against Jacksonville. Meanwhile, Florida backcourt starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton attempted 25 shots, making just 10. Since taking nine shots against UCF, Parsons has averaged just taking 6.3 shots per game.

At his best, Parsons is a huge matchup problem as a 6-foot-10 small forward with the ability to drive to the basket and shoot from the perimeter. But Florida’s offense, which hasn’t scored more than 70 points since before Thanksgiving, has reverted to either dumping the ball to center Vernon Macklin in the post or having Walker and Boynton jack up 3s.

Should Parsons be more involved in the offense? Is Donovan making a mistake by not running more plays for Parsons while letting Boynton and Walker bomb away without repercussions? Your thoughts?


  1. Generally speaking, we don’t seem to have a very good offensive team. Didn’t have a very good one last year and may not have a very good one next year either. Bombing away from the three point line is not a high percentage shot when the shooters are not typical three point bombers.

  2. It’s pretty obvious that Billy has reeled Chandler in whether you agree or disagree. The offense now consists of Vernon and Alex taking 13+ shots a game, and Kenny and Erv 10+ shots. Kenny goes 1 for 258 and he’s praised in the press while Chandler is criticized PUBLICY for being “selfish”… Selfish?! I don’t see him as a selfish player at all but I guess I’m not a coach. You mean to tell me you don’t want your 6’9” preseason All-SEC selection to shoot more than 5 shots a game?

    The criticism of Chandler’s shooting (both foul and 3-point) is legitimate, he has struggled mightily in both areas, but we NEED him to shoot more and score more if we are going to be contenders in conference play. How can Billy be confused as to why the team is scoring so little? It’s pretty clear to this fan – you have changed your offensive focus and have been critical of anybody not named Kenny Boynton for trying to create offense.

    To answer your question Kevin, yes, Billy is making a mistake by limiting Chandler’s shots.

  3. It seemed to me that after Parsons missed those critical free throws against South Carolina that let them come back 2 seasons ago, he has always been a bit a gun shy. He seems to be lacking confidence in his shot and it shows as he continues to pass up open shots. At the moment the only one on the whole team with any consistency offensively is Macklin.

  4. I think Parsons needs to drive more, not spot up. Work on his mid range jumper more in practice. I also believe he, and our team, would be better served with him running a point forward like Donovan metioned; move Walker to shooting guard, and Boynton to small forward, offensively, not defensively of course. Walker is out of control as a PG, and Boynton is better driving the ball as well, rather than spotting up. All though he can definitely get on hot streaks. Also, bench Tyus. I’ve always liked him, but he’s been so aloof this year. Bring him off the bench; maybe he’ll be more energetic.

  5. This team is still finding itself with a mix of some upper classmen with a lot of freshmen and sophomores. They have played about a third of the season but unfortunately have not found any consistency or team chemistry. They could lose or win any game left on their schedule and at the moment I wouldn’t bet on them either way. Beat Kansas State, lose to JU – need I say more? All that having been said, Billy needs to re-evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each player based on performance THIS season and retool/redesign his offense while keeping the defensive schemes intact. The potential is still there to be better than last year but at the moment it seems they would be lucky if they end up being a one and done NCAA Tourney team again. Chandler Parson’s revitalization and the maturing of the freshmen will be the keys to this team makeing it or not a better year. Only time will tell!!!!

  6. It seems to me that, similarly to the departures in coaches that vacated the sidelines this year in the Swamp, the departures that left Billy D (Jones and Grant) have left this mens BB team in a mediocre state. The lesson to be learned is that regardless of who is at the top of our coaching program- the assistants they surround themselves with are just as critical to the chemistry, ovarall coaching, and the W/L records of both the football and basketball programs.
    This hoops team looks to be another so-so group of kids. Win a great game one night, lose to a pathetic team the next. No one takes it to the rim. Its all shots from the perimeter, minus Macklin.
    Not sure which has been harder to watch- the pathetic play of the football team or the up and down from night to night in mens hoops.
    2006 can’t get back to gainesville soon enough.

  7. I watch the games closely. Play after play, screen after screen is run for Chandler Parsons. Parsons simply can not get his shot off or drive the ball when guarded closely. So to answer your question; No Donovan should not run more plays for Parsons. By the way there is absolutely nothing wrong with Parsons. Parsons is simply being what he is, a role player. He has had big games and will likely have others but he is a role player. It is not his fault that he has been forced into the identical situation that Dan Werner was put in. He has been built-up as the leader of the team, a good shooter, and a multi-skilled SF. Parsons has been given the time (Starter minutes since he was a freshman, 21min/g), the opportunity to make and learn from his mistakes, and the chance to perform by having plays run for him. He is by no means a bad player. He is a very important part of the team. He simply is not the player we were told he was. Parsons is leading the team in minutes played (350 min-32min/g) and his production does not warrant such minutes. Over the last seven games he is averaging 7pts and 6 rebounds /game in 33min/game, by contrast Alex Tyus over the same period is averaging 10pts and 5 rebounds /game in only 22min/game. Vernon Macklin is averaging 12pts and 7 rebounds/game in 22min/game.(by the way neither Tyus or Macklin are getting anything close to 13 shot per game) and they should be. Gator Sammy says that the strengths and weaknesses of players need to evaluated based on performance, so looking at minutes played and production per minute Tyus and Macklin should play more and shoot more as their performance indicates. Thus the questions should be, WHAT’S WRONG WITH DONOVAN? Why don’t Tyus and Macklin play more and get more plays run for them?

  8. The problem with Chandler and this team is simple. TURNOVERS. You can make an argument for several faults with thus team, however the solution is simply stop turning the ball over. This gives more shot attempts for the TEAM and less fastbreak shot attempts for our opponents. The TO’s from our bigs is one thing, but Chandler, Erving, and Kenny have to stop making CARELESS turnovers. The JU game was lost by the 13 TO’s in the first half just as much as the Chandler & Kenny giveaway TO’s in the closing minutes in regulation and overtime. The answer is simple. Value and cherish each possession. When the game is over ONLY check to see how many turnovers you had. Of course there will be TO’s when playing hard and fast. Just avoid the careless unforced TO’s and this team is a legitimate top 25 team! Stop turning the ball over and we are 10-1…I’m just saying.

  9. Agreed Thomas. Also added, the Gators always seem to be beat or have a hard time with teams that out hustle them, i.e. UCF, Jax. And, it used to be a trademeark of Donovan teams before the championships that they could win some games by out hustling teams and playing tenacious defense. I don’t think, except in a few selective instances, that I have seen that same kind of hustle since the 06’s. They definitely were lacking it against Jax, and especially down the stretch. You gotta want it and I think that’s coaching so…..WHAT’S WRONG WITH DONOVAN?

  10. I’ve written this before and will repeat it. When Walker leads UF in scoring that is a problem. The first thing I look at after losses is shot distribution. The fact that Walker and Boynton took more shots than than the starting front court and went 2 for 13 from behind the arc is a real issue. Pound the ball inside! If Tyus continues to be lethargic offensively, play Murphy. If Parsons is not contributing offensively play Yeguette and Prather – they are better defenders than Parsons. @Gator Sammy – Walker is not our best player. Therein lies the problem. You don’t want your least talented starter taking the most shots.

  11. Even with a lack of effort, UF should have beaten Jacksonville by 20. The problem is they don,t play the game right. They don’t pass the ball ahead. They don’t pass to the open man to make the defense more. They don,t get the ball in quickly to put pressure on the defense to get back and find people. They fast break enough. They don’t play inside out.

    I could go on and on.

  12. In the half court, our offensive scheme seems limited to getting the ball inside to Macklin, even to the point of passing up open looks. And, when we don’t get it inside we are left with last second, throw ups by folks who don’t have the ability to go one on one and create their own shot. We are definitely hurt by not having a true point guard. Finally, more disturbing than the losses themselves, could it be that JU and UCF have better players?

  13. In Tyus and Macklin UF has serviceable big men, I think they are not used enough and I think Tyus is mentally out of the game at times because he is just simply not getting the ball enough. For the first time in the Billy D. era, he does not have guards that can flat out shoot the ball and play in a control frenzy and that is hurting the gators big time and it will be the reason this team does not win the division or the sec tournament or make it far in the ncaa’s if they make it. Guard play is always critical and UF simply do not have great guards. Any body can get hot and make shots but success in basketball has always been based on consistency in all phases of the game. Also I think the gators need to stop full court pressing because this group is just not athletic enough. They need to be more of a half defensive team. The talent UF has is good but young and inexperience but should continue to play and be developed as they are.

  14. Entire frontcourt is extremely overrated. Can’t wait until they’re gone. Young, Prather, Wilbekin, Murphy and Yeguette should be playing much more. But Donovan chooses to coach like Meyer did –
    i.e., keep playing the non-producers. By the way, for those who dislike Walker – he’s the only starter that can shoot! The team should work more to get him some good looks as he should be shooting 15-20 times a game. Don’t sweat though Gator fans – we’re still on track for an 8-8 conference record.

  15. Lets face it, this team was was over rated at the start of the season. There is no true leader on this team. You can’t point to any one player you would want to have the ball and take the final shot. Name one player on this squad who is going to play at the next level. Billy has not taken advantage of the back to back championships by recruiting top notch talent. We have returned to the days when we are a mid level SEC team.

  16. Starting lineup next year:

    Young can get 20 rebounds/game and the others can fire up
    a minimum of 35 threes. Hopefully, Beal doesn’t change his
    mind about coming to Florida. After what he’s seen this year, he might.

  17. FACT: In the last 4 games Chandler is averaging the lowest shots per game (6.25) of any starter. All I’m asking is isn’t it safe to assume his reluctance to shoot the ball could be directly attributed to the public ripping that he received post UCF for being selfish? The question Kevin has posed is should Chandler be more involved in the offense, and my answer is yes.

    Let’s talk turnovers – another area like shooting we’d like to see tighten up. I looked at some assist-to-turnover numbers from some of the best small forwards in college. This is what I found:
    Kyle Singler: 1.5 assts – 1.6 turnovers
    Kris Joseph: 1.8 assts – 1.8 turnovers
    Durrell Summers: 0.5 assts – 1.5 turnovers
    Wesley Witherspoon: 1.6 assts – 2.1 turnovers
    Chandler Parsons: 2.9 assts – 2.5 turnovers
    He needs to protect the ball better but he’s positive, which is encouraging given how often he handles the ball.

    Lastly, let’s discuss the role player comment. Too often we use the term “role player” to describe a player in a negative light – it carries a bad connotation. A role player is a one-trick pony; a player who serves one purpose (shooting, rebounding, defense, etc). They fill their one role. I think Chandler is a system player, and to that point a system player to a fault. I doubt the organizers of the Lebron James Camp would extend an invite to Chandler if he was perceived nationally to be just a role player. We saw several examples last season in SEC play of what could be when he plays with fire; he just doesn’t play with peeved-off intensity enough and that is frustrating. I’m not ready to give up on him or on this team for this season. I can’t believe there are fans already crowing about next year. If we continue to play physical defense, shore up our ball handling, and tweak the offense a bit we will be just fine.


  18. Before Donovan arrived at UF, his predecessor, Lon Kruger, who had taken a Gator team to the Final 4, reportedly left because the top HS player in the state at the time, Vince Carter, told him that he was going elsewhere (North Carolina) because UF was just a football school. I agree with the comments made here about poor guard play this season, and have to wonder if we have gone backward to those days of long ago. When top HS players in Florida like Brevin Knight (UK) and Austin Rivers (Duke), among the very best guards in the country, head elsewhere, one has to wonder what is up in Gainesville.

  19. There seems to be a pattern with Florida placing the program in certain players hands. Calathes; overseas, Werner; confidence shattered and overseas, Parsons; headed overseas and confidence shattered… Watch out Murphy.

  20. I like Billy Donovan, but his response to the question about CP’s confidence displays a lack of awareness. Ever fan can see his reluctance to shoot. He reminds me of Dan Werner last year. Too bad, but Donovan is in denial.

  21. If UCF and JU do NOT have better players than UF, what’s that say about Donovan’s coaching?
    If they DO have better players than UF, what’s that say about his recruiting?
    I understand players like Vince Carter leaving the State of Florida for premium programs PRE-2006,… but not POST-2007!
    That said, when an excellent player DOES end up in the State of Florida (especially when he comes from out of State), shouldn’t it be at the Flagship University with a Hall of Fame Coach who’s won two consecutive National Championships recently?
    In other words, HOW ON EARTH does the likes of one Marcus Jordan NOT end up wearing Orange & Blue?!?!?
    Was he not that good in High School? Well look at him now!
    For goodness sakes, he’s got MICHAEL JORDAN’s DNA in him (if not some of his training)!!!!!!!
    I LLLUUUVED Billy Donovan and his style (“Billy-ball!”) – and still WANT to – but I’m sorry, I’m beginning to wonder “WHAT’S UP” WITH BILLY??!??

    PS: He never recovered from his pre-Urbanesque departure (actually, Urban’s was Donovanesque!). It sent the wrong message to would-be recruits (and empowered opposing Coaches): UNCERTAINTY AND INSTABILITY! And things have been along the order of stagnant ever since.
    I hate, HATE to say it, but I think a change of pace may soon be in order. A change in venue for Billy and a new face for us might just be what “the doctor ordered” to reinvigorate both he and UF’s Hoops program.
    Imagine with me, if you will, that Donovan had not returned after his departure, but rather was replaced by the likes of John Calipari or someone of his caliper. What kind of team(s) would the Gators have been fielding?!?
    Realistically, though, it may have been a tall order to find a “willing taker” in the ranks of top coaches to follow in Donovan’s footsteps AT THAT TIME – especially considering UF doesn’t have a tradition-rich Basketball program to serve as a perennial magnet (compared to Kentucky and UNC, which can and do).
    HOWEVER, now that we’ve had a few “down” years since those stellar and historic seasons, it would be a PERFECT time to ATTRACT a top-notch coach to “re-build” UF’s program! Their task wouldn’t be so immediately daunting; there’d be room for them to place their own stamp on the program without forever paling in the shadow of Donovan’s immediately preceding brilliance!
    Anyway, that’s how I see it.

  22. Looks like Chandler is playing very similarly to Dan Werner. As these kids gain more experience in Billy’s system, they seem to get worse rather than better. Why is the coaching not helping them play better team ball, have less turnovers, play better defense, improve their shot and shot selection?? I watch guys like Brett Nelson arrive at the UF program and play great as freshman and seem to regress throughout their career. Billy’s program has developed some great power forwards, but perhaps it was the coaching of Anthony Grant or others that departed and the new coaches are not as good?