Still work to be done

The Gators climbed the ladder to cut down the nets at the O'Connell Center on Wednesday night to celebrate their second Southeastern Conference title in the last three years. Billy Donovan was excited about the accomplishment, but he realizes there's still work to be done. The Gators have to get back in a rhythm with their injured players now back to full health.

"We're a little bit rusty when we rotate, flow, rhythm and screening," Billy Donovan said. "It's just different things."

Donovan tried to calm the hype about the team being fully healthy on Saturday. On paper that was the case. On the court, it was far from the truth. Will Yeguete returned from arthroscopic knee surgery and Michael Frazier returned from a concussion to combine for 17 minutes on Saturday.

The process continued against Vanderbilt on Wednesday when Donovan gave Frazier 22 minutes and Yeguete 12 minutes. It was a big step for the duo.

Yeguete had one rebound in 11 minutes on Saturday. Against Vanderbilt on Wednesday, Yeguete had four points and four rebounds with only one more minute of play. It was a step in the right direction, but Donovan still wants to see more from Yeguete before he's completely back to the level he was before the injury.

"Will's timing is not where it needs to be," Donovan said. "We have to help him get back to that point."

Frazier scored six points on two three-pointers and grabbed six rebounds after being held to nothing against Alabama.

It was all positive for the two on Wednesday. Yeguete still showcased his quick hands and poked a few balls away from guards in the backcourt. Frazier wasn't hesitant to dive for a loose ball, which was how his concussion occurred, and did so multiple times. Another mental hurdle cleared.

More than anything, Wednesday was another game in the past without anyone getting hurt. That's not something Donovan takes lightly anymore.

"I'm actually surprised when we walk off the court in a game or at practice and the whole team is still able to show up the next day," Donovan quipped.

Part of that is what has made this season impressive. The Gators have been banged up and missing players since the season started with Scottie Wilbekin suspended. Florida doesn't have a sure-fire first round pick on its team. It's a group that plays up to another level when it plays defense together and unselfishly on offense.

"I definitely think we have overachieved this year," Donovan said. "There's no question in my mind. If you look at the fact we've been ranked between 12-2 the entire year, we've battled a lot of injuries. You don't look out there and say, ‘wow they have three lottery picks.'

"We've done it by being a good team with an experienced group of guys that have tried to play the right way."

There's a time period coming up when Donovan hopes his team gets back to that level of play because they aren't there at this point. When Florida finishes up regular season play at Kentucky on Saturday at noon, the Gators will start to prepare for the postseason. When Saturday is over, Florida will be in single elimination play for the rest of the season.

After Saturday's game, the Gators won't play until Friday, March 15 in the SEC Tournament. That practice time will be valuable for a team that needs to continue knocking some rust off in different areas.

"I still think that at this point of the year, because we've had so little time together, that after Saturday, we have really six days before we play in the SEC Tournament," Donovan said. "That could be really valuable time for our team to get better and understand some of the things we're talking about and areas we need to get better at."

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