In Monday’s press conference, Florida coach Mike White made it a point to mention the defensive energy and communication junior forward DeVon Walker showed in blanketing Kentucky guard Jamal Murray in a seven-minute, second-half stretch.
That begs to question, could White brought in the 6-foot-6 Walker in the first half to try to neutralize the 6-4 Murray after he made his first two or three 3-pointers? Murray went 5-fot-5 from 3-point range in the first half and 8 for 10 for the game, scoring 20 of his season-high 35 points against the Gators in the first half.
On the flip side, Walker has struggled offensively all season, so playing the Winter Haven native would have hampered UF on that end of the floor. Walker is shooting 23.6 percent from the floor this season (13-55) and is just 2 of 19 from 3-point range. He’s missed his last 15 3-point attempts.
“I don’t know the right answer,” White said, when asked about using Walker more often as a stopper. “I really don’t. He’s been in a funk offensively. I just continue to tell him to be ready, the staff does, his teammates. When his number’s called, he’s got to be ready, like Brandone (Francis-Ranirez) was ready against West Virginia and was a huge factor for us.
“They are tough decisions. What do you do? You want to get one of your better defenders out there, but he’s struggling to score. As I told DeVon after the game, ‘I thought you were really good, but the problem is we’re down 20 on the road with only 9, 10, 12 minutes, whatever it was when we took him out for the last time.’ We’ve got to get some guys in that have proven over the past month to be able to score. We’ll just continue to play those things by ear throughout each game. That’s all we can do, I guess.”