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Where They Stand: Gator Basketball

Here are the Gators' preseason statistics. There are several interesting and troubling things here. Players listed by points and * mark leaders in that category.

Player Pts. Shot Rebs Asts Mins
Speights
40
17-31
20*
0
43
Parsons
31
12-21
12
5
48
Calathes
27
10-20
17
14*
60*
Lucas
26
11-24
3
8
58
Allen
23
8-11
4
1
30
Tyus
23
10-12*
14
1
36
Hodge
18
6-11
8
2
54
Mitchell
5
2-5
3
1
30
Werner
3
1-11
5
11
35

Note: Three other players have seen preseason action, all in the second game against Lynn. They combined for two points, one rebound, one assist in five minutes.

My worry begins at the bottom of the table with two guys who should be leading the team not doing so. Jonathan Mitchell has the size to play inside, but only has three boards. Dan Werner, also at 6'7", has been struggling and in foul trouble. Donovan says that he doesn't mind poor shooting from the front line sophomores as long as they play physical. The problem is that their combined eight rebounds shows a lack of physical play. Donovan does credit Werner for having 11 assists at power forward. Despite Werner playing poorly, I'd be surprised if he doesn't start Friday.

Donovan considered a three or four guard lineup to start the season, but the emergence of Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus gives UF a legit rotation behind Speights, Calathes, and Werner. That will free up Jai Lucas and Walt Hodge to only worry about the backcourt. I like Hodge, but my concern with him is that he is not willing to operate the offense. It's not a knock on him. Some guys just aren't meant to play the point. That means Lucas ends up at PG, which would probably happen at some time anyway.

Give UF credit for developing a schedule that protects this young squad. The out-of-conference schedule simulates the SEC weekday-weekend schedule (2-3 days between games) and they don't leave Gainesville until Nov. 30 when they play Vermont in Tampa. The Gators' first true road game is Dec. 22nd, when they continue the 'Destroy Ohio State' tour. Other legit games prior to SEC play include Rutgers, FSU, and Temple at the Orange Bowl tournament.

The good thing is that we'll know by the end of the month how good these guys are. The SEC isn't as stacked as it has been, so it's possible UF could make some noise again.