On the suface, Florida walk-on forward Jacob Kurtz put together another workmanlike effort in Thursday’s preseason game against Barry.
The 6-foot-6 Kurtz had 6 points and 2 rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. He came up with a loose ball out of a scrum and had a big putback shot in the second half to put Florida up 71-59 with 3:52 remaining.
But Florida coach Billy Donovan said he expects more from Kurtz, a heady fifth-year senior who stepped up last season to contribute when players were out with injuries and suspensions. Donovan knows he’s going to need Kurtz again for minutes off the bench early with sophomore center Chris Walker suspended for the first two games of the regular season.
“He can do more, and he’s not doing more,” Donovan said. “He’s gotta stop being this nice guy and just happy to be here. He’s got to start getting back to the things he did a year ago. Because this time last year, we had the suspensions and guys weren’t playing, we had to utilize him. He’s a far better player a year ago than he is right now, and I’ve got to find a way to get him back to where he was before.”
Kurtz is aware he needs to be ready for upcoming games against William & Mary and Miami. If Jon Horford and Dorian Finney-Smith get in foul trouble, Kurtz and freshman forward Devin Robinson are the next options in the frontcourt.
“I just have to go in and do my job, whatever the team asks,” Kurtz said. “And I’ve gotta be ready to go, ready to help out.”