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Florida Gators men's basketball preview 2010-11

Kenny Boynton, right, battling Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan for the ball, should get some needed rest this season.

Associated Press

Kenny Boynton, right, battling Auburn’s Frankie Sullivan for the ball, should get some needed rest this season.

At a glance

Coach: Billy Donovan (331-139, 14th season at Florida; 366-159 overall)

Last season: 21-13, 9-7 (fourth in SEC East)

ROSTER

No. Player Ht. Pos. Yr.

1 Kenny Boynton 6-2 G So.

3 Mike Rosario 6-3 G R-Jr.*

4 Patric Young 6-9 F/C Fr.

5 Scottie Wilbekin 6-2 G Fr.

11 Erving Walker 5-8 G Jr.

14 Adam Allen 6-8 F R-Jr.

15 Will Yeguete 6-7 F Fr.

20 Kyle McClanahan 6-1 G Jr.

23 Alex Tyus 6-8 F Sr.

24 Casey Prather 6-6 G/F Fr.

25 Chandler Parsons 6-10 F Sr.

32 Vernon Macklin 6-10 F/C R-Sr.

33 Erik Murphy 6-9 F So.

34 Cody Larson 6-9 F Fr.

* Transfer from Rutgers, must sit out this season

SCHEDULE

Nov. 12 UNC-Wilmington, 7

Nov. 16 Ohio State, 6

Nov. 18 NC A&T, 7

Nov. 21 Morehead State, 3:30

Nov. 23 Florida Atlantic, 7

Nov. 28 at Florida State, 7:30

Dec. 1 at UCF (Amway Arena), 7

Dec. 5 at American, 2:30 p.m.

Dec. 9 Kent State, 7

Dec. 18 Kansas State, 3:30

Dec. 20 Jacksonville, 1

Dec. 22 Radford, 7

Dec. 28 Fairfield, 7

Dec. 31 at Xavier, 4

Jan. 3 Rhode Island, 9

Jan. 8 Ole Miss, 8

Jan. 11 at Tennessee, 9

Jan. 15 South Carolina, 1:30

Jan. 20 at Auburn, 7

Jan. 22 Arkansas, 8

Jan. 25 at Georgia, 7

Jan. 29 at Mississippi State, 1

Feb. 1 Vanderbilt, 9

Feb. 5 Kentucky, 9

Feb. 9 at South Carolina, 8

Feb. 12 Tennessee, 6

Feb. 20 at LSU, 1

Feb. 24 Georgia, 7

Feb. 26 at Kentucky, 4

March 1 Alabama, 7

March 5 at Vanderbilt, 6

March 10-13 SEC Tournament (Atlanta)

After missing out on the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons, the Gators finally returned in the spring for the first time since winning their second straight national title in 2007. With five returning starters this season, including three seniors, four new frontcourt players — Patric Young, Will Yeguete, Casey Prather and Cody Larson — and the addition of freshman Scottie Wilbekin in the backcourt, coach Billy Donovan finally has the depth he has been lacking the past few seasons. That might explain why the Gators are preseason No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, their highest preseason ranking since 2007 when they were defending national champs and ranked No. 1.

Not quite deja vu

The 2010 Gators are already being compared to Donovan's 2006 team because of their mix of veterans and talented newcomers, but the coach said the comparison is far off the mark. "At this time in 2006, I said I don't know how good we're going to be, but it's going to be a team that's going to really be fun to watch. … At this point and time there's stuff in (practice) where you've got to start executing, you've got to start doing things at a high level. And I don't think this group right now, in terms of execution and accountability that we have as a team, is where those guys were. Can those guys get there? I think that they can. But to me, between those groups right now at the same time, there's not a comparison. But that's the thing I'm trying to get through to them right now, is they have to take that next step as a team."

Defense doesn't rest

The addition of 6-foot-9 freshman F/C Patric Young alongside 6-10 Vernon Macklin is expected to bring depth and brute force to the frontcourt. "One of the biggest things I felt like we were lacking … was I thought we were soft and we were not physical," Donovan said. "We took seven charges in (the first exhibition game). I don't remember the last three years we ever took seven charges the entire year."

Last time around

Senior Alex Tyus is back after twice leaving the team. He left after his sophomore season, saying he intended to transfer. Then last season he tested the NBA draft waters. Tyus said fans shouldn't doubt his loyalty. "I really just wanted to see where I needed to get better," he said. "I talked to NBA people and they told me some things I needed to hear."

Gimme a break

Guards Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker averaged 32.8 and 32.9 minutes per game, respectively, last season, but they're expected to get much needed relief from the newcomers. Both said it won't be a problem. "Coach has told us that we may not be getting as many minutes as we did in the past, and that's fine," said Boynton, who led the Gators with 14 points per game. "Whatever it takes to help this team win. If that means we share more time with other players, and we're winning, it doesn't matter."

Learning from best

Senior F Chandler Parsons and C Vernon Macklin spent part of the summer attending camps that included one run by LeBron James. Both said the experience helped hone their games and provided evidence they could play among the nation's best.

Florida Gators men's basketball preview 2010-11 11/05/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 6, 2010 9:46pm]
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