Former Florida assistant coach Rob Lanier admitted it was an agonizing decision to leave for Texas, especially due to his close relationship with Billy Donovan.
Lanier’s legacy at UF includes convincing Donovan to take a chance on unpolished center Vernon Macklin. Macklin, who had two disappointing seasons at Georgetown before transferring to UF, developed into an NBA second round draft pick.
Lanier also was instrumental in the recruitment of Kenny Boynton and incoming 2011 freshman phenom guard Bradley Beal. And Lanier said he thinks Beal will adapt well at UF no matter what his role entails in 2011-12.
“I think he’s got an advanced understanding of the game, number one and of the team concept,” Lanier said. “I think there has been so much talk about how Billy is going to manage all of his guards because obviously when you talk about high level players, egos come into play. But I think Bradley is wired is such in a way that he’s going to be an asset in that way because he’s such a team guy.
“So he’s going to see beyond stats and all that, his motivation in basketball in winning. So I think he will do more to help that dynamic than to confuse it.”
Beal finished as the fourth-ranked player in the nation according to Rivals.com, averaging 32.4 ppg to earn Gatorade National Player of the Year Honors. It’s rare for a player of that caliber to start the season on the bench, but Florida returns its starting backcourt of Boynton and senior point guard Erving Walker.
Also, Florida adds combo guard Mike Rosario, a Rutgers transfer who averaged 16.1 ppg in Big East play in 2009-10. Former Florida forward Chandler Parsons said Rosario was the best shooter in practice last season.
Donovan said he intends to start three guards next season, and didn’t rule out the possibility of playing all four on the court at the same time.
“If there was a dynamic where Brad Beal had to come off the bench, Brad Beal is fully capable of making that into a positive,” Lanier said. “And that’s above and beyond talking about the skill level or anything like that. He’s beyond his years as it relates to the team concept.”
Starting or coming off the bench, Lanier said that Beal is capable of being an impact player in the SEC. Asked about any potential flaws in Beal’s game, Lanier said: “Not much missing there. I’ve been doing this 21 years, watched a lot of guys and I saw a lot of his games, and I really enjoyed them, I really enjoyed watching all of them.”
— Will Yeguete finished international play averaging 6.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, helping lead France to a bronze medal in the FIBA 20-under European Championships.
— Former Gator forward Alex Tyus is taking Hebrew lessons to prepare for his first season overseas to play with Maccabi Ashdod. Tyus, who frequently visited Hillel at UF, converted to Judaism shortly after marrying his wife, Ally, who is Jewish. Former FSU guard Jason Rich, who played in Jerusalem last season, said Tyus will enjoy playing in Israel, “It’s very wide open, up-and-down play, which plays to his strengths,” said Rich, who is playing next season in Belgium. “His athleticism will take him a long way.”
— A source close to Chandler Parsons said he is mulling an offer to play in France due to the NBA lockout. Under terms of the deal, the Houston Rockets would still hold Parsons’ rights. Parsons, Florida’s first-ever SEC player of the year, was drafted in the second round (38th overall) by the Rockets last month.