Donovan Excited About 2012-13 Roster

Losing both a top-five overall pick in the NBA Draft and the school's leader in career assists and minutes play can thin out a backcourt. Florida head coach Billy Donovan purposely brought in freshman guards to help add to the depth while pairing that unit together with a deep, experienced frontcourt from last year's team that made it to the Elite Eight.

"When you lose a starting point guard like we are and a top-five pick like Brad Beal, it certainly changes the complexion of your backcourt," Billy Donovan said on a conference call Monday. "For Scottie Wilbekin, Braxton Ogbueze and Kenny Boynton, we'll have to create an identity back there. That's something that I've given some thought about."

Wilbekin's role should increase this season after serving as the primary backup point guard for Erving Walker in the past two seasons. He skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early and get accustomed to college basketball earlier than most.

Walker provided a scoring ability that became streaky, but he was a defensive liability on the other side of the court. That will also change next season. Wilbekin is listed as six inches taller than Walker.

"Defensively because of Erving's size, we struggled against bigger guards," Donovan said. "Now, Scottie is a bigger, stronger guard. Braxton is a strong guard as well. I feel pretty confident with our frontcourt and what's returning, but any time you take a point guard off a team that has been a starter for three years, there's an element you have to deal with going into the following season."

Florida brings in four wing players—Michael Fraizer, Dillon Graham, Ogbueze and DeVon Walker—because of a potential nightmare situation for Donovan. Walker was guaranteed to be gone because of graduation. There was also a chance that Beal, Boynton and Mike Rosario could have big seasons and leave.

Because of the possibility of losing four wing scorers, Donovan brought in four new ones. Only Walker and Beal left the team, and Donovan was sure to explain the situation to his incoming freshmen.

"I was really worried that if we lost Boynton, Walker and Beal, we'd need to make sure from a recruiting standpoint that we had some depth back there," Donovan said.

"We didn't add a lot of frontcourt pieces in the class, but I was more concerned about the backcourt if we lost those guys and what situation we would be in. The kids are coming in understanding there's going to be some experience and depth with Rosario, Wilbekin and Boynton, but they also know after a year or so, things will really open up."

Losing players the caliber of Beal and Walker is made easier by the returning nucleus of frontcourt players. Erik Murphy, Will Yeguete and Patric Young return as the three players that spent most of the time on the floor as the team's big men.

Add to that the late season resurgence of Casey Prather and an extra year under Cody Larson's belt, Donovan is hoping his team's frontcourt play will be improved this year.

"We've got some experienced pieces coming back, in particular in our frontcourt with Patric Young, Erik Murphy, Will Yeguete and Casey Prather," he said.


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