Change at the point paying dividends


Florida coach Mike White was asked Monday how the change of moving Chris Chiozza to starting point guard and Kasey Hill to the backup has impacted both players.

Chiozza has posted a 33-to-4 assist-to-turnover since becoming UF’s starter at the point a month ago, including a masterful 8 assist to 0 turnover performance on Saturday against LSU.

“We try not to make a big deal of starting and not starting,” White said. “In fact, we don’t even have conversations with guys until we put the starting lineup on the board right before the game, I want you to guard this guy, I want you to guard this guy. At that point, unsurprisingly, Chris Chiozza didn’t change face expression. He rarely does.”

Hill, meanwhile, is averaging 8 points and 3.7 assists with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 26 to 16 since his move to the bench.

“I don’t think he’s coming off his best couple of games, but definitely the first few, after he decided to have the conversation with me (to come off the bench), I would like to say his best three games, were immediately following that conversation,” White said. “I don’t know if it took pressure off of him, if it allowed him to see the game from a front row seat before he got into the game, watched the flow of the game before he experienced the flow, whatever factors led to that, he definitely played better there. And again, we hope we can get him back to playing that well, tomorrow night.”

Other notes:

— White said the return of backup center Schuyler Rimmer from a back injury should help starting center John Egbunu. “He helps take a little bit of pressure off John,” White said. “To be honest he might add a little of healthy pressure to John, knowing that Schuyler is another guys he’s going to compete with on a daily basis for playing time as we continue to emphasize inside-out touches, paint touches, taking 3s later in the clock, taking really, really good 3s.” White said that the 6-foot-10 Stanford transfer isn’t necessarily a low-post scoring threat, but he’s an excellent low-post passer. “He’s also a great scouting report guy,” White said. “He’s a great teammate. We’ll give Schuyler opportunities the rest of the year as long as he’s healthy. I think he brings a lot to the table for us.”

— Senior forward Dorian Finney-Smith got off to an excellent start against LSU, scoring 9 of UF’s first 11 points. White said that needs to continue for the Gators to have success in SEC play. “If Dorian has a really good first 10 minutes of  practice today it will have a really good effect on our practice today,” White said. “If Dorian speaks up in the team huddle before practice, it will have an effect on the rest of the guys.” White said the Gators are even more inexperienced with senior forward Alex Murphy in and out of the lineup all season while trying to recover from a torn plantar fascia in his right foot. “We’re down to where we play one senior, and (Finney-Smith) has had success throughout his career,” White said. “He was the sixth man of the year for  Final Four team. Whatever he does or says the other guys on the team they watch and they listen. When he’s playing well, we tend to play well.”