FT shooting a concern for Gators


Florida senior Mike Rosario was at a loss to explain the missed free throws late in Florida’s 63-6o loss to Missouri.

“It’s hard to explain,” Rosario said. “Normally, we step up to the line and make those with confidence.”

But free-throw shooting has been up and down for the Gators throughout the 2012-13 season. After a 6-for-12 performance against Missouri, the Gators dropped to fourth in the Southeastern Conference in free-throw percentage at .692.

The Gators could afford to miss a few free throws in blowout wins against overmatched opponents earlier this season. But with a little better free throw shooting (Kenny Boynton missed the front end of a one-and-one late in UF’s 65-64 loss at Arizona), the Gators could be 23-2 instead of 21-4.

Rosario .887, Boynton .831, Michael Frazier II .952 (20-21) and Erik Murphy .828 are UF’s best free-throw shooters. From there, though, there’s a sharp dropoff. Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin is just 64.5 percent from the line and starting center Patric Young is at 50.6 percent. Young has regressed from his freshman season, when he shot 75 percent from the line.

Casey Prather (.579) and Will Yeguete (.571) also are below 60 percent from the free-throw line .

Here’s what Florida coach Billy Donovan had to say when asked about UF’s free-throw shooting a couple of weeks ago:

“Patric Young, to his credit, and Will Yeguete, to their credit, both those guys have put extra time in. This is not a situation at all with the way those guys in particular shot free throws in the first half with free throws that they’re not working at it.  We get 20 hours a week. That time gets used up pretty quickly between individual instruction and practice. There’s got to be guys that have a commitment on their own to work on certain areas of the game that we’re not able to spend more time on.

“I think free throw shooting is one of those things. I think Patric, the last three or four weeks, he has put the extra time in, and I know he wants to get better at it, as does Will. Patric in the past has shot his free throws better. I think he gets disappointed, because anytime you put time into something and you don’t get the results you want, I always think it creates for yourself, ‘How persistent are you? What kind of resiliency do you have to go back in the gym and put another hour in and take another couple 100 free throws?’”



  1. As you point out, Kevin, the ‘difference’ is ONLY 23-2 vs. 21-4. The 4 losses were, at least, on the road and against good teams. The free throw issue wouldn’t even be an issue had Florida won, I bet!
    The concern for me, is ‘end of game *situational* set-play proficiency’, meaning the Gators, seem to look lost at the end of close games. The answer? I don’t know, but I bet Billy ‘D’ does! And, I bet he’s working on it at practice already!
    This team’s potential hasn’t even been reached, yet, and to be 21-4 heading into March with ‘room to improve’ is a beautiful thing in my book. CHOMP-CHOMP! It is STILL great to be a Florida Gator!

  2. If Eric Murphy had hit 30% of his 3 point attempts in the first half we wouldn’t be talking missed free throws or complaining about BD’s record in close games. I’ve said before that Wilbikin needs to improve his FT shooting to be the PG we want him to be. I think our guards should attack the basket more to get more trys at the line. I think the hardest thing in basketball is to go to the line in the 38th minute and knock down your first FT. Most of the experts feel we need some PT from Yeguette to go deep in the tourney. I agree.

  3. Florida is a good team, and next year they could be elite, but this years team has failed to beat a good team on the road; when your best road win is against FSU, a team that may not even make the NIT, something is curiously wrong. The SEC is weak, which is one reason the Gators are where they are. No doubt they’ll be pushed in the tourney, lets just hope Yeguette is back at full strength to help on the defensive end and rebounding. Cold shooting from the field and FT line late in games rests with the players, not the coach.