2009-2010 Florida Gators Basketball Preview
It seems like yesterday that he Florida Gators (25- 11 overall, 9- 7 SEC) were repeat national champs. Well, it wasn’t that long ago. The Gators won it all on the national stage in 2006 and 2007. But the last two seasons they have struggled to win 10 conference games and have ended up each year in the NIT. Last year, after finishing third in the SEC East, the Gators lost to Penn State in the NIT quarterfinals 71- 62.
On offense last season, Florida was ranked second in the league in field goal percentage, hitting 48%, and third in points scored, garnering 77.1 PPG. They were also third in threes, making 37% of their attempts from downtown. Defense was average as they held opponents to 67.4 PPG. The team’s foul shooting was questionable, as they made just 69% of their attempts, ranking them seventh. Rebounding was a major weak spot. The Gators margin was a mere plus-0.4 RPG.
Upfront, there are a bunch of big guys who can occupy the paint. Sophomore forward/center Alex Tyus (12.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.7 APG) is a major force on the court but he needs help. Vernon Macklin, a transfer from Georgetown, should help on the boards. Freshman Erik Murphy will also see some action. The consistency and output of the frontcourt will depend greatly on two sophomores: forward/center Kenny Kadji (4.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.1 APG) and forward/center Eloy Vargas (0.6 PPG, 0.7 RPG, 0.0 APG). The Gators need these two to step up.
With the loss of Nick Calathes and Walter Hodge, the point spot has taken a major hit. Senior Dan Werner (8.9 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 2.3 APG) and junior Chandler Parsons (9.2 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.8 APG) will help but it is unknown if either is the real answer. The shooting position will feature the high-energy play of sophomore Erving Walker (10.1 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 2.4 APG). Freshman Kenny Boynton offers a deadeye shot from downtown.
With the loss of two guards and their combined 26 PPG, coach Billy Donovan will need to find points somewhere. Chances are that he won’t locate enough to make up for that deficit. In the past two seasons, Florida has posted a 2- 7 mark going into Selection Sunday. That will not help them get an invite to March Madness. It looks like a fifth-place finish and the NIT for the Gators in 2009- 2010.