Defense Valuable for Yeguete

When Florida and Mississippi State took the floor on Saturday, the physical mismatch looked clear. Florida forward Will Yeguete is listed at 6-7, 222 pounds, and faced with the challenge of the Bulldogs' large frontcourt, it looked like the big men would have their way with him. That wasn't the case. Despite not being one of the biggest players on the court, Yeguete still finds ways to defend.

As Yeguete has done throughout his career, he used his craftiness to frustrate the Bulldogs' big men as the Florida defense held Mississippi State to 57 points.

Yeguete was mostly matched up with Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie, who led the team with 17.1 points and 11.2 rebounds going into the game. Moultrie has four inches and 30 pounds on Yeguete, but the Florida forward held him to 4-for-10 from the field and 12 points.

Yeguete doesn't have the strong base to bang with players near the basket. He forced Moultrie to catch the ball out of the paint and start his offense from far away from the basket.

"I think a lot of times, with Moultrie in the game, it was where Moultrie started form," head coach Billy Donovan said about Will Yeguete. "If you look at it a lot of time Moultrie wasn't two feet from the basket, he was starting 10 or 11 feet away from the basket and then going into his move."

"Once Will gets a guy in the area of the floor where it's away from the basket, he's good enough physically to take on contact and obviously he is really good with his hands in terms of slapping and deflecting balls. He's a really good defender and as good as a post defender that I have had since I've been here. I think he takes great pride in taking in those challenges."

When players get close to the basket, Yeguete depends on a strong lower half to keep bigger players from simply using strength to push his backwards and to the hoop.

"Will has a great base defensively," Donovan said. "He has great, great feet and exceptionally long arms. I would say another thing is that he is not afraid of contact and can physically put his body in place.

It wasn't always this way. Yeguete came to Gainesville in the summer of 2010 weighing less than 210 pounds. As a late addition to his recruiting class, Yeguete was a three-star recruit that seemed to be more of a project at the college level, as Donovan said he was "pretty raw" when he got to campus.

There wasn't an immediate need for him to produce last season. The Gators had seniors Vernon Macklin, Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus starting in the frontcourt and Patric Young brought energy off the bench. However, Yeguete managed to earn playing time in 31 games last season.

He might have seen more playing time if it wasn't for the frequency he turned the ball over.

"He was pretty raw," Donovan said. "His biggest problem a year ago was that he led our team in turnovers per minute. It became very difficult to play him because when he touched the ball there was a good chance that he was going to turn it over. I think he's gotten better with his decision-making, I think he's gotten better with his passes, but he still has some lapses there.

"But even though offensively he's not a perimeter three-point shooter, and he's not a guy that's going to take a lot of jump shots and he's not a great back to the basket player, he still has a great ability to go offensive rebounding."

BEAL HONORED AGAIN: Freshman guard Brad Beal was named SEC Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season. Beal averaged 14 points in the two games against Ole Miss and No. 16 Mississippi State last week. He led the team with 19 points against the Bulldogs while hitting a trio of three-pointers.

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