Freshman observations from exhibition

Florida's freshman class wasn't ranked in the top 25 out of high school, but each of the four players showed promise in Thursday's 101-71 exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney. Guard Michael Frazier II led the team with 21 points and hit five three-pointers. The other three freshmen each had their moments that showed what they are capable of doing on the floor.

The focus was Michael Frazier II. He was the first freshman off the bench and the second player off the bench, behind leading scorer Will Yeguete. Frazier turned heads at media day when the newcomers were first introduced to local media. He has a thick build with a strong upper body that gives him a leg up on most incoming players.

Frazier brought instant offense on Thursday. He has a pretty shot and gets high off the ground for his release point. He has a good vertical that wasn't shown much in transition on Thursday. He went 8-10 from the field. The only two shots he missed were a long three-pointer and a tough, transition layup that Will Yeguete followed to tip into the basket.

The missed layup was Frazier's first shot of the game. He hit eight of his next nine shots. Frazier hit shots from all over the court. His first three-pointer was from the left side of the court, and two possessions later, he hit one from the opposite side of the court.

Frazier got to his hottest point in the second half. With Florida holding an 11-point lead with under 14 minutes to go, Frazier hit a three-pointer from in front of the Florida bench. On the other end of the floor, Frazier pulled down a rebound, dribbled the ball up the court and stood six feet behind the three-point line.

It didn't surprise his teammates.

"Honestly, Mike has shot it like that consistently," Kenny Boynton said. "I hadn't seen him play in high school, so I don't know why he wasn't talked about more, but in practice, he does consistently hit shots like that."

The Nebraska-Kearney defender didn't step out. Frazier looked at it, noticed the room between himself and the defender, and hit an NBA range three-pointer that hit only net on its way through the rim.

Three possessions later, Frazier came up with a loose ball in the paint. He lowered his head, went into the contact and made a layup while also being fouled.

The freshman showed his overall offensive game on Thursday, but head coach Billy Donovan is trying to keep things in perspective.

"I've seen a lot of guys come out in a first game and make a lot of shots," Donovan said. "It's a long year. I never try to put anything into one game."

Braxton Ogbueze was the final freshman to get into the game, and after a few minutes to shake off some nerves, he showed what he could do. Ogbueze is capable of playing the point guard and shooting guard spots in the offense, but he handled the ball a lot on Thursday.

Wearing the No. 11 jersey of former three-year point guard starter Erving Walker, Ogbueze showed a similar quickness with the ball. He split two players for an easy layup and came up with a loose ball in transition, flashing a quick spin move after securing the ball.

He's pesky on defense. Walker was a liability on that end, but Ogbueze looks to be a pest. He had one steal that created a fast break, where Mike Rosario ended it with a no-look pass to Ogbueze for an easy layup. His crossover dribble is quick, and he used it a few times before pulling up for a jump shot. He went 4-5 from the field and led the team with eight free throw attempts while hitting six of them and totaling 15 points.

The coaches have been very happy with DeVon Walker in fall practices, and he showed flashes of what he can do. His long, 6-6 frame can make him a terror in the press. He showed some of his activity on Thursday night. After finishing a fast break with a lay up, Walker sprinted up the floor and stole the ball from behind to give Florida the ball back.

Walker is listed at 191 pounds, but his long, skinny arms make him look less than that. Either way, Walker has plenty of room to fill out, add weight and become a force. His offensive game looked shaky on Thursday, going 1-5 from the field and missed his only three-point attempt.

Dillon Graham became the third freshman in double figures. Similar to Ogbueze, Graham had questionable moments early in the game that were likely caused by nerves. He settled into the game and went 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from behind the three-point line while putting up 12 points.

His shot looks good, but he surprised some in the crowd with his athleticism. He flew to the offensive glass from behind the three-point line for a tip in, similar to what Chandler Parsons became known for. He also slightly missed a dunk that would have been the play of the game. He can really jump.

The freshmen showed up in a big way for their first game in Florida uniforms, and even though it won't count in the official statistics, the upperclassmen noticed.

"The freshmen came in and did what's asked of them," Boynton said. "(Frazier) shot it well, Braxton led the team and Devon brought a lot of intensity."

Fightin Gators Top Stories