Rosario Trying to Find a Role

Mike Rosario isn't used to coming off the bench. Doing that for Florida this season has recently become an adjustment, and it's not because he isn't willing to do it. Rosario is fighting to find a way to make his impact felt off the bench. For a player that has started his entire life, Rosario is trying to create his niche for the Gators.

"I think one of the things for him right now is mentally," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "This is all new for him. He was a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school, and he pretty much has always been a starter. It's not necessarily about starting or not starting, but I think the bigger challenge is his coming off the bench and that being somewhat new to him. He's fine with whatever is best for our team."

It isn't a lack of effort for Mike Rosario. He transferred from Rutgers and was forced to sit out last season. When he was eligible to play with the team this year, Rosario said all the right things. Freshman Brad Beal came in and won the starting job next to Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker, meaning Rosario would come off the bench.

He never said a bad word about the situation, putting the team first in all of his comments.

He played just six minutes on Friday against Syracuse off the bench, which had more to do with Donovan recognizing that he wasn't mentally in the game. The Gators also got solid production from Casey Prather and Will Yeguete, while Scottie Wilbekin was playing well on defense. Donovan thought what those three brought to the table was a better fit than what Rosario was doing.

Donovan spoke with Rosario since the end of the game to start the process of rebuilding his confidence.

"I would guess he's probably in a better place mentally now than he was," Donovan said. "Like anything else, when you sit out for a year, you want to come in and find a way to help. He's trying to figure out how he goes about helping. His way going about trying to help the team was just his scoring."

There's more that Donovan wants to see from Rosario for his playing time to increase. Donovan has been outspoken this season about needing to see Rosario become better on the defensive end. Rosario had seven rebounds in a win over Wright State earlier in the season, proving he can also help on the glass.

"There are more things he can do to help our team that he needs to do," Donovan said. "He needs to get more committed on defense and doing the little things. He's already clearly a proven scorer. The thing I've tried to explain to him is that we aren't lacking at scoring. Even if he isn't on the floor, there will be enough guys that can make some shots."

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