Who is Florida’s best player?


As a voter for the AP all-SEC awards, I plan to vote for Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as SEC player of the year.

Caldwell-Pope is, in my opinion, the most complete player in the league and a future NBA shooting guard because of his size (6-5, 205 pounds) and scoring ability. He’s second in the SEC in scoring (18 ppg), eighth in rebounding (6.9 rpg) and second in steals (2.1 spg). In other words, he’s this season’s Bradley Beal.

But there are some who believe that the SEC player of the year should be the best player on the best team (like Chandler Parsons was in 2011). Only this season, it’s a fair question to ask who is Florida’s best player.

The reason why the Gators won the SEC this season is that Florida has a collection of very good players but no great ones. Even Florida coach Billy Donovan admitted following the Alabama game that there were no Lottery Picks on his team, no players who could create their own shot. But through unselfish play, four of UF’s five starters are averaging double figures. The fifth, Scottie Wilbekin, is close to double figures at 9.1 points per game and is second in the SEC in assists (5.2).

Here’s arguments for and against Florida’s starters as Team MVP.

— Kenny Boynton. Florida’s most complete player (offense, defense, passing) but an inconsistent shooter who fails to come up big in big moments.

— Scottie Wilbekin. Florida’s best defender and passer. Most steady player at the point with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.5-1. But still limited offensively.

— Mike Rosario. Has led Florida in scoring 13 times this season but at times is erratic. Was benched the final 12 minutes of UF’s comeback home win against Alabama because of his out-of-control play.

— Erik Murphy. Florida’s best shooter (an SEC-high 46.5 percent from 3-point range) and has improved offensively in the post. But rebounding and interior defense remain inconsistent.

— Patric Young. Florida’s best post defender and low-post scorer. But Young is inconsistent with his jump hook and is a poor free-throw shooter. Also, should rebound better for his size.

There’s my breakdown of UF’s five starters. What are your thoughts? Who deserves to be Florida’s MVP this season?





  1. last year at this time it would def. be Boynton but he really is inconsistent now which sucks, he misses a lot of easy layups too because he thinks the ref will call a foul because he always screams out when he drives to the basket. I would have to say Eric Muprhy.

  2. The best player would be the MOP or Most Outstanding Player on a team. The MVP or Most Valuable Player is the guy a team can least afford to loose. I think Murphy will likely be drafted higher than anybody else and is likely the best player (MOP) on the team. But since nearly everybody has been been out of the line-up at some point in the season and the Gators continued to win, I would look at the two most steady guys: Boynton and Young. Since the Gators have so much depth at guard, although Boynton plays both guard positions and is a quiet leader making it very close, I’d give the edge to Young. Without Patrick Young, this team would struggle mightily inside and would not have the record they have today without him. I vote for Young as Gator MVP.

  3. If he were eligible it would be Coach Billy Donovan for making his team the collective POY. Individually I’m torn between Murph, our most dangerous guy to defend, and KB, our most complete player. Murphy is harder to lose, more indispensable, so he gets the nod.

  4. I look at it as the player we could least afford to do without out. With that being said, P. Young would be the MVP of the team with E. Murphy being 2nd. Even though, having a big body in the low post who also has the range Murphy does will be harder to replace next year.

  5. I agree with Gatormac on coach, but would challenge you to think about Casey Prather and the lift he has given us off the bench. He started to really hit stride when we were down guys, needed another explosive scorer on the court as well as someone that could rebound and block shots. His Kentucky performance is evidence, as was Alabama and very nearly Missouri. Without him on the floor we wouldn’t have locked up the SEC at this point if at all…

  6. Prather and Will. Don’t care if they start or not. Florida will not go far in tournament without them playing well. The 5 starters could just play average and Florida can win if its bench contributes.

  7. Wilbekin is the best player on the team. This team is good because of it’s defense. He is by far the best defender on the team causing havoc to the opposing teams’ offense. If he is not directly getting the steal, it was often his D that led to it. In addition he is a true point guard. He makes selfless decisions with the ball mostly looking to make other people score. He can pass the ball to the post position while Patric young maintains (something Erving Walker could not do) He has really been the only person that has been able to get dribble penetration, and the pick and roll with Patric Young has been successful. There should also be a stat where he has passed to a wide open three point shooter only to have the shot missed.
    It’s been my contention, bases on his defense prowess alone that Billy D should have started Wilbekin from the midway point in the season last year and split Erving Walker and Boynton at shooting guard. Had this been done we would have made a run for the NC. I think we will make another run for the NC this year, but consider this time will be with out a true NBA lottery pick.

  8. With a team full of near-stars, it’s hard to pick one player as the best, so I’d have to say Eric Murphy. They play as a team and that is what makes them great. I’m looking/hoping for a 10 game sweep starting with Kentucky. A 4 game sweep could get them a No. 1 seed since a lot of top teams lose at this time of the year and during the tournaments. Almost all of our players have been in a slump of some sort recently. They are due to come out of it and if that happens we will be unstoppable.

  9. There isn’t a definitive answer to the above question, and there in lies the beauty of this TEAM. “All for one, and one for all!” Yes, a cornball cliche from days gone by, but thats how our boys think and play. I absolutely love to watch this team play when they play inspired and full of energy. They are unbeatable when they do. Hopefully, they play every game from here on out that way. If they bring the energy and don’t get complacent or lazy, they win the whole fargin thing! Go Gators!!!

  10. We have a possible “Perfect Storm” forming right before our eyes. Being forced to play certain rotations all season because of the injury bug, has allowed our boys the chance to learn different ways to get it done. Now, everybody is ready to go when Billy calls their number. Whatever the match up is, we should be able to answer it pretty well. It all comes down to how much fire our guys have in their bellies.

  11. The MVP this season is….TEAM.

    Now let’s start a 10 game winning streak to the National Title starting today @ Rump Arena……beat the Mildcats!

    Well Crim- a-Nole…..we beat your sorry butt in Tally….I believe the score was: 72 – 47, a very satisfying 25 pt. win on your court.
    Get a REAL TEAM Nole…..or just get Real.

    Go Gators! On to the SEC tourny & NCAA titiles!!!

  12. Always good to see comments from Nole and Tide fans, just shows how pathetic their schools athletic programs are, has FSU won an NCAA title in anything lately??? Outside of football, has Bama won anything???
    We should not be discussing who the Gators MVP/MOP is at this point of the year, this team has been on a two month slide and needs to find itself again, quick, or they’ll be going home early this year.

  13. This team sucks. No heart, no fire, no will to win. How do you go from up by 7 to lose the game and not score for over 7 1/2 minutes. Its not like they are ever good or played good defense. I cant watch this team any more. This team will go no where and they don’t deserve to.

  14. I don’t disagree with Joel – no heart, no fire, and no chance of making it to the Sweet Sixteen. If I was an opposing coach I would instruct my fans to be patient until five minutes left, no matter how far behind , and then start chanting “Florida FOLD!”

  15. I concur with Joel, this team could play the worst high school team on the road and find a way to lose. Instead of getting better, this team has gone south, a 6 seed at best. One and done next week in Nashville and gone in the second round the following week.

  16. Despite the poor performance in the last seven minutes against UK, the real difference in the game was free throws. UK went to the line a lot more than the Gators. Even though Goodwin was a “clunk” machine we needed a shot to fall to win and it didn’t. While Boynton’s mechanics are open to criticism, the real reason for his slump is that he is playing the point too many minutes. Against UK the announcers said his last shot was his first of the second half. I’ve seen teams that have really looked bad and then gone deep in the tournament. As far as the SEC tourney the best thing for the Gators is too one and done it. Conference tournies suck.

  17. The problem with this team is they have no leader. No one to count on to make a tough basket when they need it. No one to step up and take control. No one to go to the basket and score or get fouled. How many shots around the basket did they miss. How many turn overs. 7 1/2 minutes without a point. 7 1/2 minutes without a foul shot. Every guard should be driving to the basket, not settling for jump shots. Young and Murphy should setting up in the low post and diving to the basket after they set a screen. Casey and Will should be crashing the boards. Where is the fire, where is the heart where is the toughness? Get it fast or don’t show up and give us this crap. No excuses. Win a close game and show us some heart!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Eric Murphy’s the MVP, it’s tough to win on the road for any team in college ball. This team is like our good team’s in the balance. Unlike some of the naysayers, I like our chances to make a run on a neutral or favorable court (ie, SE region).

  19. i think often in close games when it’s a tight half court game, you will have to make contested shots. but i don’t think the gators take many of those which is good and bad.

    erving walker didn’t have a problem taking those… sometimes against the coach… but you got the feeling he was confident about making those.

    so how do you get players practice taking contested shots without them taking bad shots during most of the games?

  20. Now, 1st thing is 1st, when ‘Noles’ and ‘Roll Tide’ stop coming to Gator sites & illiterately commenting, which is the equivalent of JEALOUSY, then we may have a REAL problem.
    Secondly, the Gator Basketball Team needs to find itself, as I am not worried about ‘BEST PLAYER’. Because the chemistry is a bit off, but -hopefully- having these days of practice without a game (Sunday – Thursday), perhaps that will be a non-issue, too, like Bama and Nole Basketball!
    The Gators have a unique opportunity to be special, and the way they played at home …well, that needs to be their standard if they plan on playing into early April.

  21. Well we know know it is not Boynton. Missed another last second shot to win or tie the game why don’t you. Please graduate already and move on. I am tired or a “shooter” who cant score. Please sit him for Frazier, at least he can shoot, but apparently not free throws. Two to tie and he misses the first.

    I will say it again, this team sucks, sucks, sucks. No heart, no fire, no passion. No one to step up and make a play.

    Put pressure on the ball and this team wilts. Turnover after turnover, after turnover.

    How many 3’s did they take? What happened to the inside game like the start?

    How do you give up a 12 point lead (really 14) and lose the game by 3 and get out scored by 15 in the second half of the championship game.

    One and done.

  22. What happened to the defense? What happened to holding teams under 50? The interior defense was poor and porous. How do you let an average low post player score 24 on you if you are one of the best defensive teams in the country?

    And why can’t Young and our other low post players step up and score in the low post like that?

    This team is too dependent on the high ball screen action. If teams defend that well and our 3’s are not dropping we have no interior scorers and no consistent low post option.

    And when is this team going to step up and win a close one?