Yeguete Benefits from Instincts

His teammates don't know how he does it. Whether he's boxed out or out of the play altogether, Will Yeguete has a knack for coming down with the rebound. His 6-7, 222-pound frame doesn't set him up to be a dominant rebounder, but Yeguete's instincts and awareness on the court have the sophomore second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per game in 21.8 minutes.

"Sometimes it doesn't seem like he's in position or there, but he just comes up with it," Florida forward Erik Murphy said about Yegeute. "That's just one of his talents. Some guys are just born with that where it's natural to come up with the ball like that. He's got unbelievable size and feet."

Yeguete leads the team with 2.7 offensive rebounds a game. What he lacks in size he makes up for with quick footwork and active hands that can even steal the ball away from guards. Yeguete has the feet and hands of a guard, and while his size isn't ideal in the paint, he is still able to be active on the boards.

"Guys that are really good offensive rebounders have a great ability to see a play developing or recognize when a shot's going up and at times guess where the ball is coming off," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said about Will Yeguete. "The biggest thing about being a good rebounder is you have to rebound out of your area. Anybody can rebound in a telephone booth, but can you spread out and cover the backboard a little bit? Will has the ability to cover the glass with his length."

The comparison Donovan made is to former Florida forward Donnell Harvey. Yeguete doesn't have the explosiveness and leaping ability off the floor that made Harvey special, but Harvey didn't have ideal size either. Both players are smart in how they set up to attack a missed shot.

"Donnell had much more athleticism off the floor, but he never let guys into his body, and it allowed him to move his feet, jump and chase basketballs," Donovan said." Will kind of does the same thing. He keeps his feet free to move and chase balls.

"(Yeguete) has got a great, low base. He doesn't allow defenses and blackouts to get into his body, and he's able to get himself off it. He has great hip strength."

Yeguete's role could continue to grow if center Patric Young continues to have trouble with his ankle. Yeguete earned his sixth start on Saturday at South Carolina when Young came off the bench because of the injury. If the ankle tendonitis caused Young to need more time off, Yeguete's rebounding ability will become more important.

"I appreciate Will a lot because the stuff that he does for our team is unbelievable, chasing down loose balls or getting 8-9 rebounds a game," Florida guard Mike Rosario said. "It's unbelievable how that guy has stepped up the last couple of games."

"He's a huge asset to our team," Murphy added. "He's one of our best defenders, if not our best defender. He's got a crazy nose for the ball. He can guard any position. In practice, he picks (the ball from) Erv. No one picks Erv, but he picks him in practice."

ROSARIO'S ROLE GROWS WITH DEFENSE: Donovan's message got through to junior guard Mike Rosario. If he wants to see the floor, he'll need to show increased effort on the defensive side of the floor. In the last two games against Georgia and South Carolina, Rosario has done just that and earned 16 19 minutes, respectively.

"I'm buying in and doing things that coach needs us to do to win games," Rosario said. "One of the important things is guarding the ball, so that's what I've been trying to conquer in these weeks."

With the improvement on the defensive end of the floor, the offensive numbers have risen. Rosario is averaging 8.5 points in just 17.5 minutes in the last two games. Scoring has never been a problems for Rosario, one of two players in Rutgers history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in his first two seasons before transferring to Florida. He was a liability on defense, and Donovan couldn't trust him.

Rosario has also been slowed by injuries this season. It started with back problems that forced him to miss two games in December. Rosario hurt his ankle near the end of Florida's New Years Eve win over Yale and played just two minutes in the SEC opener at Tennessee.

"Now that I'm healthy again and can compete to the best of my ability, I feel like I provide a little spark off the bench for the team," Rosario said. "If I have to play that role, I'm willing to do it. (Coach Donovan) sees how bad I want it, but he knows I have to work for it. That's what I've been doing these past few weeks, just trying to get trust out of him so I can go out there and perform."

Donovan noted that his performance in the last two games has "stemmed from practice." Rosario's ability to practice hard and consistently has shown the Florida head coach that he understands his responsibilities on the floor and gained his trust.

"Early in the year some of his limited minutes had a lot to do with his defensive focus," Donovan said. "As that started to get better, the back and foot became a problem. In the last two weeks since he came back, he has been pretty locked in and pretty solid."

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