Donovan Happy With First Game

There was a sloppy 12 minute span in the second half of Florida's blowout win over Jackson State Friday night and Billy Donovan himself took responsibility for that while trying to try different line ups. But outside of that time frame, the Florida Gators looked dominating and showed some positive gains in areas that Donovan was really looking for.

Number one on the list of areas for concern for Billy Donovan and his Florida basketball team is rebounding. The Gators lost three front court starters from last year's Elite Eight team and are really burdened with a lack of depth in the front court this season. His team came out and dominated the boards led by sophomore forward Patric Young who had his first double-double of his career throwing in 12 points and pulling down 10 boards.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," Donovan said. "Tonight we grabbed 44 rebounds and out-rebounded them by 15 and that was kind of the expectation level I had for our guys. Erik Murphy had a chance to have a bigger rebounding game, a few balls were bobbled and came out of his hand and he just has to secure them a little more.

"I think our guys are playing pretty physical. We didn't give up a lot of second shots, considering they only shot 34%. We had 23 offensive rebounds and that is encouraging. Are we great? No, but I think we are better."

Patric Young aside, this current squad is going to go as the back court goes. Blessed with big time talent and depth, Florida will be outing up a lot of deep shots in every game. The Gators poured in 13 three-point baskets Friday on 30 shots. Led by junior Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario who led the team I scoring with 19 points on 5-8 shooting from three-point land.

Donovan knows it will just depend on the situation which one of his three-point shooters goes off in any one night.

"Tonight it could have been anybody," he said. "I thought Murphy had great looks and he's 2-9 (shots) and 1-4 (three-point land). I thought Brad Beal had great looks and he was 1-6 (three-point land). Rosario, the ball just went in the basket for him. Mike made some shots tonight and did some things to help our team when two of our better shooters from behind the three-point line didn't have it going. Offensively there was some fire power with our team and we could get some stops if we could get out in transition we could really get it going."

Donovan wasn't surprised by Rosario and his ability to put the ball in the basket.

"He can really shoot," said the Gators' head ball coach. "He is really consistent. What is amazing about him is that there are times when he shoots that you think there is no way he can get it off because it looks like he is moving so slow. Then he has a great shot fake where he can just go by you."

Donovan said he put it on Rosario to become more than just a shooter.

"He has already proven he can score with the things he did at Rutgers," Donovan said recognizing Rosario's over 16 points per game in the rugged Big East conference while at Rutgers. "Can he be a complete player and move the basketball? I was proud of him in the second half. There were some shots he passed up that he should have shot. But, he is trying to play the right way and I am encouraged by that. Now, he is not only shooting the ball, he is doing a lot of the right thing, passing and making decisions. He came in, was really ready to play, and did a great job for us tonight."

Beal wasn't hot from beyond the arc, but he just does so many things with and without the ball that he can have an off night shooting and still play a great game in which he did with his 14 points, two rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal.

"He never gets rattled," Donovan said of Beal. "He got 10 points in the first half and you don't even recognize it. He has great pace and the thing with him that makes him such a great player is that he is not a high volume shooter. He scores very quietly and is efficient when he scores. I thought he had great looks."

Donovan loves his mighty-might guard in Erving Walker and says the 5-8 do everything is too important not to have on the floor at the biggest moments in any game.

"Erving Walker is a special player," Donovan said. "He does a lot of different things. I am really proud of him. He was 4-6 today, four assists and no turnovers, and nobody notices him.

"How many times did Ervin Walker drive the lane and kick the ball out to the open guy and that guy threw it to someone that shot the ball. Erving Walker was the one that created the play. There is not a lot of recognition for playing that way, but people that really understand the magnitude of what you are doing can see it. If these were hockey assists, he could have had 15."

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