Georgia notes: Prather happy with first start

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Florida freshman Casey Prather admitted it’s been tough at times sitting on the bench with little playing time this season.

“It was kind of frustrating at first,” Prather said. “I just tried to work hard and develop as a player.”

Prather was rewarded with his first career start Sunday at LSU. Though the soft-spoken, 6-foot-6 swingman from Jackson, Tenn., didn’t score, he finished with 3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist in 15 minutes. Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin played the lion’s share of the minutes (30) left by the absence of senior forward Chandler Parsons.

It looks more and more like the 6-foot-10 Parsons will return Thursday against Georgia. A source told me he made it through Wednesday’s practice with no ill-effects from the deep thigh bruise he suffered Feb. 12 against Tennessee.

But Florida coach Billy Donovan said Prather will probably get another start Thursday night, with Parsons coming off the bench. Prather is a similar athlete to Georgia swingman Travis Leslie. Both are big-time leapers who can get and up and down the floor and finish in transition.

Prather looked tentative offensively at times against LSU. But Donovan was pleased that Prather played hard defense and stayed within the framework of the offense.

Though Prather hasn’t scored much this season, he feels like he’s becoming more confident offensively.

“I feel like (my offense) it’s developing,” Prather said. “It’s getting better in practice, each day, going against players like Chandler Parsons. I think it’s developing well.”

— Senior power forward Alex Tyus will play the final game of his career at the O’Connell Center on Tuesday night against Alabama. But Tyus, a St. Louis native, will be replaced on the roster next season by another highly-touted player from his home city.

Incoming 2011 McDonald’s All-American freshman guard Bradley Beal also is from St. Louis. The sharp-shooting Beal recently scored 40 points in a nationally-televised high school game. Tyus said he’s talked to Beal a few times.

“I really don’t know him that well but I’ve seen him play a couple of times,”Tyus said. “He’s really, really good. I have friends back home that see him play all the time and say really, really good things.”

Beal is the third St. Louis native recruited by Donovan, joining Tyus and former All-SEC power forward David Lee. Lee was picked by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft and is now playing for the Golden State Warriors.

“There could be some tradition with that,” Tyus said, when asked about the St. Louis connection. “Also, (kids want to) get out of the Midwest, get out of the cold weather. Coach Donovan, he’s a great coach and the team is really family-oriented. Guys stick together. So I feel like that’s some of the things kids see when they visit Florida.”

10 COMMENTS

  1. I love Young and Wilbekin too. They’re just the kind of blue-collar tough defensive-minded players we’ve been needing the last few years. Young’s starting to show some skills around the basket too. If he stays for four years he’s going to be a Gator great.

  2. Baring defections, we should have the SEC’s top backcourt next year. Young and Yeguette are good defenders and rebounders but their offensive skills are sub-par. Need lots of work this summer. Murphy can board and score but he is a fouling machine. Larson and Pitchford are unknowns at this point. The recruiting services don’t list us in contention for the Daniels kid out of IMG but he could be an enormous plus at SF.

  3. I love Alex Tyus, have always appreciated his spirit and good attitude. I watch how he carries a smile on his face in games and on the bench and the way he sacrifices individual stats for his team’s success. Could our team be better represented than we seem to be with our three senior leaders, Chandler, Vernon and Alex? They’ve made watching these Gators an even greater joy. Thanks, guys!

  4. I like Alex. I’d love him if he could shoot the ball consistently, handle the ball without turning it over 50% of the time, block out & rebound better and make a free throw here & there. He seems to be a great guy with a great attitude. He’s a team leader and plays solid D, but he’s as good now as he was 2 years ago.

  5. Yeah Brent. I see what you are saying about Tyus. I would love him too if he was a three year starter who:

    Scored over 1200 pts Top 30 in UF history
    Was #9 all time in shot blocks in UF history
    Had nearly 700 rebs
    Had 514 Fgs, 4th in Donovan 15 year era
    Was Top 10 in FG% in UF history
    Has 140 career Dunks 4th in UF history

    I like Tyus, but until he accomplishes something, I can not say I love him. Wait, someone just told me that he already has accomplished all six of those things. I had no idea and you probably didn’t either. I guess I do love him.

    I may have to come back and add SEC Championship.

  6. Agree completely about Young and Wilbekin. They are huge role players not trying to be superstarts like a lot of the frosh we have had the last few years. They want to win games and just play b-ball! We are very fortunate to have them. This team finally has the attitude you need to win. We have really missed this the last few years. They have learned how to be competitive and win games. March is going to be exciting again!

  7. With so many basketball games played recently (3 games in six days: UGA, @UK, Alabama) by the Gators, I almost forgot about the Feb 24 visit by recruit C 6’11” 240 Lekan Ayaji. Kevin, did Ayaji visit Florida for that Georgia game, how did the visit go, and are the Gators interested in signing this big man (for 2011 class) in the block to back up Patric Young next season?