Yeguete Helps Team in Small Ways

Seven points and eight rebounds. It's not a stat line that would make anyone point to Will Yeguete as an impact player for the Gators on Wednesday. However, without the sophomore forward, Florida might have left the O'Connell Center with a loss to Arizona. Yeguete's gave the Gators the little things they needed to help Florida come out with a win.

His stat line only tells some of the story, but for Will Yeguete, that's usually how it is. In barley over one season at Florida, Yeguete has made a career out of just that. He had a 15-rebound game in the third game of his freshman year, but that was the biggest statistical impression he has made.

To truly appreciate what Yeguete brings to the Gators, you have to focus on him at all times. At 6-7, 222 pounds, he shouldn't be able to get his hands on as many loose balls as he does. It's not uncommon for a group of players to elevate for a rebound, only for Yeguete to exit with it.

That's just the beginning though.

Yeguete showed what makes him special against Arizona. Despite being trusted to guard power forwards, Yeguete has quick hands that help him on the defensive end. He was credited with four steals, but the biggest one just went in the books as a turnover.

With Arizona down one point, Yeguete stepped out on Nick Johnson and got a finger on the ball before it bounced off Johnson's leg and went out of bounds.

"Huge," Florida guard Erving Walker said about Yeguete's impact. "Deflections and rebounds, but that's what we need from Will. We see it every day in practice, so we expect that from him."

With Erik Murphy out for the past three games with a bone bruise in his knee, Yeguete was forced into the starting role. Murphy returned to action on Wednesday but Yeguete stayed in the starting lineup.

The Gators have plenty of guards who can score, so the little things that Yeguete brings to the table are essential for the team.

"He drives me nuts from the free throw line, but the thing about him is all those intangible things," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "I really do think that he's like Dennis Rodman on a smaller scale. He rebounds. He's like the worm. He just comes up with plays, deflections, steals, hands on balls and offensive rebounds. He gives incredible effort."

Yeguete came down with two of his three offensive rebounds on missed free throws to keep plays alive. Florida went 15-for-32 from the free throw line, and at one point it was 2-for-14, so any added possessions were important.

"It's all those things that people look at as being unglamorous," Donovan said. "He makes them glamorous with the way he approaches it. He's the one guy on our team that when you see him do those things, you can clearly say that's what coaches love. The fans love and appreciate guys who give that effort and do the little things. He's got a great ability to do that. He really is special in that area."


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