Former Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey misses coaching.
But Pelphrey is staying close to the game as a basketball analyst for the SEC Network. He’ll call the second of two straight Florida games tonight when the Gators face Richmond at the O’Connell Center in an SEC Network televised game.
“It’s been really good,” Pelphrey said. “It’s humbling. These people are really talented at what they do, you know, everything is about communicating correctly, even if you know the right stuff, but you don’t communicate it well to someone else it doesn’t matter. Nobody communicates better than ESPN. I’m enjoying having a chance to meet some of these other coaches and learn from different people.”
Pelphrey was considered the lead in-house candidate to replace Billy Donovan at Florida, but the Gators went outside the program, turning to Louisiana Tech’s Mike White instead. White chose to bring all three assistants with him from Louisiana Tech instead of keeping any assistants from Donovan’s staff. Anthony Grant went with Donovan to the Thunder, while Rashon Burno made a pair of quick moves to Nebraska and Arizona State.
Pelphrey said he was introduced to ESPN executives through a close friend in Connecticut, Bill Kramer. An audition was set up, and Pelphrey impressed the network enough to land the job. As a former player at Kentucky, former head coach at Arkansas and former assistant for two stints that covered 10 years at Florida, Pelphrey’s knowledge base of the league and its players appealed to SEC Network brass.
“For me, I’ve been in this league a long, long time,” Pelphrey said. “Five years as a player, 10 years as an assistant coach in the league, four years as a head coach. I consider it my league, it’s really good basketball, really good people, run really well. The SEC Network has done nothing but enhance that.”
Pelphrey still lives in Gainesville and the year off from coaching is allowing him to spend more time with his family. His son, Jaxson, is a senior baseball player at P.K. Yonge High School and his daughter, Grace, is a sophomore basketball player at P.K. Yonge.
“Jaxson is a senior, so we want to finish him up,” Pelphrey said. “Jaxson and Grace both were born here. As a family we’ve lived here longer than anyone else, so this is home for them.”
Make no mistake, though, Pelphrey is open for a return to the bench in the near future — if the opportunity is right.
“I do miss coaching,” Pelphrey said. “It’s something I want to do. I feel really prepared for whatever comes next. So we’re gonna enjoy the moment we’re in now and hopefully in the spring, something will come our way that will interest us.”
— White was asked if he felt junior point guard Kasey Hill played out of control during UF’s 70-50 win over Florida Gulf Coast University. Hill went 2 of 9 from the floor with 2 assists and 2 turnovers. “A little bit,” White said. “I thought he was pretty good in certain areas. He’s playing a lot more within himself than he did at Purdue, and that we all did at Purdue. We were trying to hit home runs in that one. Didn’t exactly let it come to us.” Hill’s last four games, offensively, have been a rollercoaster. He followed up a 13-point effort on 5 of 10 shooting vs. St. Joe’s with a 1-for-8 effort against Purdue, then followed up a 6 for 10 day from the floor against Vermont by going 2 of 9 against FGCU. “Offensively, I think I’m a little bit inconsistent right now,” Hill said. “I definitely have to get a little more consistent for the team. Defensively, I think I’ve made some pretty huge steps. When the ball is not going in, that’s what you have to do, you have to make plays on the defensive end and try to get other guys open shots, keep playing.”
–Percentage wise, Florida sophomore point guard Chris Chiozza (7-16, 43.2 percent) is UF’s best 3-point shooter. But Chiozza has just attempted four 3s over his last two games (all missed). White’s message to Chiozza, let if fly more, and don’t get discouraged through some early misses. “We’re urging him to be aggressive,” White said. “We’ve shown him clips, showed him a couple of clips yesterday in front of the team in situations where he was open and we wished he would have been a little aggressive. We also like him to be unselfish as well. It’s kind of his mental makeup. There are times we can play him off the ball as we did last game, a little bit. So he’s fighting for minutes at a couple of different spots, and then as a staff, we’ve got to come up with ways, to try to be creative to get him open looks, as well as the rest of our guys, but Chris is definitely one of our better shooters, for sure.”