Two major preseason college basketball magazines expect Florida to pick up where it left off last season.
The Sporting News picks the Gators to finish second behind Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference and ranks Florida seventh in the nation in its preseason top 25. Lindy’s ranks Florida third in the SEC behind Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and 10th in its preseason top 25.
Florida lost its starting frontcourt from a team that won the SEC and reached the Elite Eight last season. But the Gators add two standout guards — Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario and incoming freshman Brad Beal — along with freshman forward Walter Pitchford.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said in the Sporting News article that he is hopeful that Patric Young and recently re-instated forward Erik Murphy will pick up the slack to replace the losses of Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin.
In the Sporting News’ Florida preseason preview, Jimmy Hyams wrote: “Is Florida’s deep and talented backcourt good enough to carry the team? Not entirely. But if Young and one other big man emerges, Florida should make the big dance for the 12th time in Donovan’s 16 seasons in Gainesville.”
In the Lindy’s Florida preview, Gregg Doyel wrote: “After three ho-hum seasons following their back-to-back national championships of 2006 and 2007, the Gators returned to national excellence last season. Expect them to stay there now, albeit in a completely different way: A balanced team that lacked backcourt depth will become guard-heavy, both in production and minutes played.”
As an aside, senior guard Erving Walker is featured on both the local Sporting News and Lindy’s covers.
I still don’t see how we are going to match up with any teams that play big. Young is a beast but Murphy plays soft and Pitchford is another Vargas(size-wise). Our backcourt may be the best in the nation and Im sure Beal will be insane, but I still don’t see us going much further than round 1
Murphy needs play like he’s 40 pounds heavier? More minutes Beal = more points Gators… 5’8″ Walker shouldn’t direct do or die last minutes. We should
no longer have to depend on wild-luck with pluck. His height is ripe for the plucking & blocked up-chucking.
The front court losses are significant and will be very difficult to overcome and maintain their level of play from last season. Parsons in particular will be a difficult replacement as he was capable and efective at doing so many good things. Gators still lack the depth and experience and talent to excel at an elite level. Nothing against Walker, but he can’t take this team to the next level.
Young may surprise some people this season, but there’s not much behind him.
They’re still a season (or two) away.
Murphy was an offensive rebounding machine in his limited minutes last year, and he has plenty of size (height and bulk). Believe me, Murphy will have a VERY good year this year. I just don’t get all the criticism (other than re. the St. Augustine incident) of him. (The guy may be the 2nd coming of Matt Bonner (except presumably in the classroom).)
Athletic Alex Tyus is the guy wo will be sorely missed, however. (Parsons’s gaudy rebounding stats are because he often had a guy 6 to 8 inches shorter than him trying to check him on the boards.)
Perhaps a lot will come down to whether Murphy’s partner in crime (literally) plays and can bring anything to the table (other than a plea bargaining agreement).
Gator Diego is 100% correct – assuming Larsons is reinstated (after a suspension of some kind) we should be fine in the front court. Not a strength of the team but good enough: Young should make a huge leap in productivity this year especially in boards, blocks and interior D. Murph is deceptively good around the basket – not great – but good enough. And the word out of practice last year was Larsons is a very physical player (who admittedly has made some poor choices but who hasnt at 17, 18 etc…
Dont forget Yeguette showed he can contribute and there’s the freshman Pitchford who spent a year in prep school so he should be more ready physically to compete.
This team could make another run at a Final 4 if we get just enough out of the front court. Our perimeter attack will be great so figure we will press early and often and get out on the break alot.
I think everyone is overlooking the contribution of Yeguette. While not a scorer per se, he has a knack for getting putbacks and trash baskets. He is always around the ball when it comes off the boards. My concern with Murphy is not that he’s soft, but that his poor defensive technique will put him in continual foul trouble. Larson and Pitchford are unknowns which we hope will be pleasant surprises.
If we return Larson we have a chance to be rediculously good.
Not sure what all the hype is with Larson. If he was really that good, he would not have been red-shirted last year. He may be physical but we need a low post scorer to go along with the brute force of Young. I hope i’m wrong but I just don’t see him being such a big part of this team.
Any team that is going to rely on their backcourt to lead the scoring, especially with a frequent 3 guard line up, had better be able to shoot the 3 ball at a high %. Since that has not been a strength of either Walker or Boynton, the Gators will need Beal and Rosario to lead in this area. Since both are unproven as yet, this will be a key area to watch.
I agree with everyone above…I am concerned about FRONT- COURT strength and oppenents taking it to the rack and TYRING TO GET FLA.’s big-men iN FOUL TROUBLE EARLY in the games. I am impressed with the back-court (hype, etc…), but I think the front-court will have FOUL-TROUBLES OFTEN…GO GATORS!!! Sweet 16 Finish is my pick!
Everyone seems to have legitimate concerns about the front court. No one can question Young’s rebounding and shot blocking ability, but he doesn’t have that scorers knack other than dunks and put backs. UF’s back to back champs won it all because it had the baddest and best front court in the country both yrs. I see problems ahead.