Billy D on Hill’s shooting, a chance for us both to grow

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From Teddy Dupay to Anthony Roberson to Erving Walker to Scotte Wilbekin, Florida has always had a 3-point shooting threat at point guard.

But one of the challenges for UF’s inconsistent offense this season has been sophomore point guard Kasey Hill’s inability to stretch the defense. Hill is just 2 of 8 from 3-point range this season and hasn’t taken a 3-point attempt since Dec. 20 against Wake Forest. For this career, Hill is shooting just 16.3 percent (7-43) from beyond the arc.

But where some might see a weakness, Florida coach Billy Donovan envisions an opportunity.

“For Kasey and I together it’s a great opportunity for the both of us to grow,” Donovan said.

Donovan said it’s a challenge for him to find ways for Hill to be more effective within the offense given the fact that his shot isn’t falling. Overall, Hill is 38 percent from the field this season and 39.5 percent for his career. The 6-foot-1 Hill has been up and down this season finishing at the rim as well, but has had some high-scoring moments, including a career-high 20 points against North Carolina and 17 points at Florida State.

“I actually think for Kasey, he did it a little bit against Mississippi State I’ve got a lot of confidence in him when he takes 15-foot, pull-up jump-shots,” Donovan said. “That’s a shot that, you know, he normally makes and I feel pretty good about him shooting that shot. So for him it’s not like he’s this prolific three-point shooter, but Kasey has had some game where he has scored some points but he’s never been really wrapped up in scoring.”

Asked if Hill could become a better 3-point shooter before the end of his college career, Donovan said of the former McDonald’s All-American: “I don’t think he’ll be a prolific three-point shooter but he can get better at it he can improve. I think our responsibility as coaches is to help him get better and help him improve in those areas. Where he positions himself, where he catches the ball, how he attacks defense, different things he can do to offset some of that stuff is something he’s learning and getting better at. But I think he’ll get better at shooting, I can’t tell you he’s going to be Lee Humphrey.”

Other notes:

— On the subject of McDonald’s All-Americans, Donovan said he needs to do a better job coaching sophomore center Chris Walker to get him to finish plays around the basket. “I’ve tried to, but I’m not getting through like I need to get through,” Donovan said. “I’ve got to do a better job helping because he needs to be more efficient down there with his length, athleticism, size and those kind of things.” Walker is averaging 5.8 points per game. He missed a dunk on a putback attempt against Mississippi State and had just 2 points in 22 minutes while dealing with cramping issues throughout the game. Because Walker is not a traditional back-to-basket player, Donovan is trying to get the 6-foot-10 Bonifay native to run the floor hard and get easy baskets in transition. “The best front court players that I’ve had that have made the transition to the NBA that’s had really good success, have had an unbelievable threshold for cardiovascular pain,” Donovan said. “Joakim Noah was a freak of nature when it came through running through fatigue. He never gave in. (Udonis) Haslem, (Matt) Bonner, David Lee, those guys were freaks of nature in terms of their toughness of cardiovascular toughness.” Walker isn’t there yet, but Donovan is hoping he can get there. Asked about other ways Walker can score around the basket, Donovan said: ” I’m not so sure facing him up is the best thing for him or our team. Just based on some of the things we’ve seen, I actually think Chris can shoot the ball fairly decently when he catches and he can just turn, square and shoot. But when he starts to put the ball on the floor, that opens up a whole different set of problems for everybody. He is not bad on the baseline, catching and shooting he can make that shot. The more dribbles he takes, the more he tries to take a situation, take a simple move and make into something complicated, that becomes difficult for him. Like I said I got to do a better job of helping him.”

— Former Florida assistant coach Larry Shyatt has Wyoming on a roll. In his fifth season as head coach at Wyoming, Shyatt’s Cowboys have cracked the AP Top 25 at No. 25 with a 13-2 record. Wyoming will take a seven-game win streak into its matchup at home Wednesday night against San Diego State, which includes notable wins over Colorado State, UNLV and Boise State. Shyatt was on Donovan’s staff at UF from 2004-11 and earned national championship rings during UF’s back-to-back title years in 2006 and 2007.