Graham, freshmen could get their shot

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With Casey Prather out at least a week with a high ankle sprain, Florida once again needs another player to step up.

When Prather went out late in the first half against LSU with an ankle injury, Florida coach Billy Donovan turned to freshman guard Dillon Graham as the eighth player in his eight-player rotation. Graham was 0-for-2 from the floor, but did have one rebound in six minutes off the bench. More importantly, Graham had no turnovers.

“The one thing I respect about Dillon is his ability to pass the ball,”  Donovan said. “For him, against a team like LSU at home that was creating about 12 steals a game, forcing 19 turnovers, with (Mike) Rosario being out, in that game, in terms of the handling and passing standpoint, we needed some of that.”

Rosario is expected to return for Thursday night’s game at Texas A&M. Donovan hasn’t penciled in Graham as the eighth man in the rotation with Prather out.

“It could be totally different against A&M,” Donovan said. “It’s not necessarily him. It could be Braxton (Ogbueze). It could be DeVon Walker. It depends as we get deeper into (scouting) A&M to figure those things out.”

Of Florida’s 2012 freshman class, guard Michael Frazier II has been the most impressive. Frazier is shooting 42.9 percent (18-42) from 3-point range and at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds has proven physical enough to mix it up inside against high-level competition. Against LSU, Frazier finished with 5 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in a career-high 31 minutes off the bench.

Ogbueze and Walker have played more sparingly. Neither freshman appeared in Saturday’s game at LSU. But Florida junior center Patric Young said that the work ethic of all of UF’s freshman have remained strong in practice.

“Guys in my class have been in their ear a lot, telling them be ready because you’re opportunity is right around the corner,” Young said. “Guys are getting hurt, you just got to be ready. Just don’t get discouraged. We all went through the time where we weren’t playing as much our freshman and year and just be ready. Your time’s coming.”

Other notes:

Joe Lunardi has Florida as a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region his latest ESPN Bracketology, facing Harvard. Lunardi has Miami as a six seed in the opposite bracket, setting up a potential Florida-Miami showdown.

 

 

 

 

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Graham looks terrified out there, kind of like Murphy looked when he was an underclassman… I guess that one worked out pretty well over time, so hopefully the same end result for Dillon… They could use a few of the prviously mentioned guys to platoon in the #8 spot… Hopefully, we won’t need the bench to step up real big, and just they’ll just get valuable experience minutes, and still be able to contribute a little… What the heck is Lunardi talking about? The season isn’t even halfway over, and most of his bracket will change by then…

  2. The Joe Lunardi’s who bracket pick want a UF-Miami game because Kenny Kadji is doing so well there after transferring from UF. The bottom line is knowing BD will put out the right players in the right situation so they can be successful and help the team to win or at least be very competitive. Donovan may be the most underappreciated 17-year veteran coach that ever walked the hardwood. I remember UF hoops in the Florida Gym. High school basketball was more fun to watch before Donovan came aboard. Sure, Sloan and Krugar had some good teams, but neither, even combined, put together the run the Billy Donovan has, and I hope he stays another 17 years.

  3. Agreed, I got a chuckle out of bracketology at this stage of this season. But hey, that’s the guy’s meal ticket, so what else do you expect from him?

    It’s good that the freshmen get some pt so that they’ll have a clue when the playoffs hit.

  4. Kevin, have you considered a story on Prather? With UF losing so many players after one or two seasons because they were upset with their lack of playing time, it’s good to see a guy like Prather realize he wasn’t playing much because he made bad decisions and turned the ball over. But he stuck it out, worked through it, and made himself a better player, and is now an important part of the team. He deserves some recognition for that.