Billy D: Hill responding well in practice


Florida coach Billy Donovan is not worried about sophomore starting point guard Kasey Hill losing confidence.

After being benched in the closing minutes of UF’s 63-50 win over Wake Forest in favor of freshman Chris Chiozza before Christmas break 10 days ago, Hill didn’t sulk. Donovan said the positive attitude has carried over to this week in practice.

“He wants the truth and he really accepts and assumes responsibility,” Donovan said. “You’re our starting point guard right now, and it’s a one-point game (against Wake Forest). You come out of the game and we go on an 11-1 run. He’s looking at that score in the mirror and saying, ‘you know what, I’ve got to be better.’ He understands that.”

While Hill has struggled from the perimeter and finishing around the basket this season (32.5 percent from field, 25 percent from 3-point range), Donovan said that playing with a high motor on a consistent basis remains the former McDonald’s All-Americans biggest issue. Hill has been steady with the ball while setting up his teammates all season, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 50 to 20.

But Hill’s shooting woes have translated into low-scoring nights. Hill is averaging 6.9 points per game and has reached double figures just once (a career-high 20 points against North Carolina) in 11 games this season.

“Kasey has always been a team guy,” Donovan said. “He’s got to be a guy that, again, what does he stand for as a player? North Carolina, some other games, he’s up here then all of a sudden, second half against Kansas, coming down the second half against Wake Forest, what are you getting every single day? Is he going to inject his speed into the game every day? Sometimes he doesn’t do that.”

Other notes:

— While Florida 2015 forward commit Keith Stone was playing this week at the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament in Ocala, Donovan had his eye on another high-level prospect. According to the Ocala Star Banner, Donovan was at Vanguard High’s gym for Saturday night’s Cardinal Gibbons-North Clayton, Ga., presumably to watch CG shooting guard Maverick Rowan, a 2016 four-star recruit. Rowan, a 6-foot-5 forward from Fort Lauderdale, recently re-opened his recruitment after de-committing from Pittsburgh. Rowan also has offers from Louisville and West Virginia.