Florida coach Billy Donovan said the Gators have continued to play unselfish in practice.
But Donovan said he’s noticed “some slippage” on defense and rebounding as the team has gone to more 5-on-5 drills in practice.
“We need to clean up some of the slippage we’ve had the last couple of days,” Donovan said. “We start going 5-on-5 and now some of the rebounding, some of the blocking out some of the rotations kind of gets thrown by the wayside a little bit and they worry about playing and they are not focused on one thing at a time.”
Donovan said junior forward Erik Murphy has returned from a poked eye and has played well in practice.
“I think he’s tougher,” Donovan said. “He’s older and he’s playing with confidence and maturity right now.”
Donovan also said the team is shooting the ball well from 3-point range in practice. He said junior Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario has been UF’s most consistent 3-pointer shooter so far.
Other tidbits from SEC basketball media day:
— Donovan, on Florida having the best backcourt in the country, “I don’t know if we have the best backcourt in the country or not. I think we have some very, very gifted players. We have two guys (Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton) that are certainly proven in the league. I think that (Bradley) Beal is a very gifted and very talented player that is going to help us.”
— Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said junior forward Renardo Sidney is in better shape this season. “Is he where I want him to be? No,” Stansbury said. “I don’t know if I’ll see that yet. As long as he keeps working and doing what he’s doing, taking the same approach he’s taking he is going to take strides there. But he is better, in every way.”
— New Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said he expects his highly-touted freshman class to get plenty of playing time. “They’ll be thrown into the fire right away,” Anderson said. “We only have 10 scholarship guys.”
— Georgia coach Mark Fox said he believes that Vanderbilt has the talent and experience to reach the Final Four this season.
— New Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin said it hasn’t been hard to get his players to buy into his defense-first mentality. “At the end of the day, players are going to do what it takes to win,” Martin said.