Finding a Flow the Key in Final Exhibition

Wednesday night's final exhibition game will be about getting in a flow for the Gators. The first exhibition game was centered on letting the freshmen play and getting accustomed to the college game. When the Gators host Georgetown College Wednesday, head coach Billy Donovan wants his players to experience a substitution pattern similar to the regular season.

"Georgetown has built a good program and brought in some transfers from Division 1 programs," Billy Donovan said. "This will be a game where we try to get more into a consistent flow of the game. This will be a highly competitive game. If you look at some of their exhibition games of the years, they've played some really good programs really well."

Donovan had multiple lineups he wanted to use last week against Florida Tech, but things changed as the game started. He wanted to work on a three-guard lineup that featured Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Scottie Wilbekin, but that fell through when Wilbekin suffered a neck strain.

He also wanted to use Patric Young and Vernon Macklin on the floor together. Instead, Macklin only played 12 minutes, and Young played the center position. He also wants Will Yeguette to play more power forward. Most of his minutes came at the small forward against Florida Tech, which allowed freshman Cody Larson to also see the floor.

"There are still things we have question marks and can get much better at," Donovan said.

LOOKING FOR LEADERS: Donovan would like to see more leadership from his upperclassmen. It's hard to find that before the team faces any losses or struggles in a game, so the coaching staff has worked to create tough spots in practice to see how the team would respond.

"Because you don't have a competitive measuring stick of games, you have to create adversity in practice because you want to see how guys will respond," Donovan said. "It's easy to lead in the summer and spring because everybody is in a good mood."

Vernon Macklin is one upperclassman Donovan is looking towards for more leadership. It's only his second season of eligibility with the Gators after transferring from Georgetown University, but it will also be his last year of college basketball. There is plenty of an opportunity for him to lead.

"Vernon has to prove he can lead under duress and adversity," Donovan said. "I've tried to create adversity in practice for him and our team to see how they respond. I don't think Vernon has responded the way I would like to see him respond. He has to be a calming force for the team. I think he can do that. This is all new to him."

YEGUETTE DOES LITTLE THINGS: Will Yeguette had six points, eight rebounds and three steals in his debut last week, but none of it came in spectacular fashion. Donovan says that is something to get used to. Yeguette doesn't flash dominance in any area of his game, but the power forward knows his role on the team.

"That's what he does," Donovan said about his productivity. "He's a loose ball, rebound guy. He understands that he's probably not going to be a primary scoring option for us, but he finds ways to score. Those are the things he brings to our team."

PRATHER EMERGING: Casey Prather's double-double against Florida Tech seemed to introduce him to Florida basketball fans. Even though he is from Tennessee, Prather grew up knowing about Florida basketball, so it wasn't a hard sell for the Florida staff.

"We knew about Casey going into his junior year," Donovan said. "He had an affinity for Florida growing up. We felt like he had an opportunity to be a good player. He's quick off the floor and rebounds the ball. He's a good defensive presence. He was undervalued in the recruiting process by recruiting analysts. We needed an athletic wing."

It went further than just production on the court with Prather. He was an infectious personality to everyone on his high school team and around the program. He was selfless in his time around the program, which was refreshing for Donovan to see out of a highly recruited player.

"I always watch how the other players on the team react to the best player on the team," Donovan said. "There are situations where you can tell the guys on the team don't enjoy the best guy on the team. It was unbelievable how many guys were going up to (Prather), wanting his attention and time. He was great in terms of giving his time. Once you find out the athletic part about being good enough, the next thing to find out about are intangibles. I thought his intangibles were very good."
Follow Cody Jones on


Fightin Gators Top Stories