Future of the position: Power forward

There was no doubt about the power forward position in the lineup during the last two seasons. Erik Murphy would be there. He served as the perfect stretch power forward in Billy Donovan's offense, able to hit three-point shots at a high rate. With his departure comes a change in the starting lineup and could bring a change to the Florida offense.

Erik Murphy was second on the team as a senior, shooting 45.3% from behind the three-point line. His presence on the court made Florida difficult to prepare for. The quickness of Florida's guards made teams respect them with the ball in their hands, but opponents always had to keep an eye on Murphy.

There isn't a power forward on the roster that can provide the same threat as Murphy. The offensive philosophy could change because of it.

The Gators have always had success with the three-point shots under Billy Donovan. The personnel at power forward could force that to be changed with Will Yeguete, Chris Walker, DeVon Walker and others at the position. Shooting isn't the strength of any player that will line up at power forward.

Yeguete will be an important piece next year

Yeguete isn't a player that's in the headlines much. He knows how to get his hands on the ball. It sounds like a cliché, but Yeguete has proven it a big part of his game. He has a knack for rebounding. He can get in the correct position, box out an opponent in a way to get an advantage, and he times his jumps very well.

His offensive game could use improvement. Yeguete took just 113 field goals, the fewest of Florida's eight regulars last season, and added just a 57% clip from the free throw line. He needs to improve these areas to earn a starting position, but even if he doesn't, Yeguete is still an important piece because of his defense in the half court, and he serves as a crucial part of the press.

All eyes next season will be on Chris Walker. One of two of the top ten overall high school players in the country, Walker has elite athleticism. He is still raw and could use some added weight, but he will make an immediate impact if only based on his athleticism. The 6-10, 205-pound forward can jump and block shots with his length.

Walker comes to campus as a five-star player

He's also a perfect fit for the tempo Florida wants on offense. Donovan is always encouraging his team to get up the floor and run -- two things that should earn Walker immediate playing time in Gainesville.

Another Walker -- DeVon -- could increased playing time next season. At 6-6, 191 pounds, he's stuck between a small forward and a power forward. DeVon Walker is similar to Yeguete in his lack of size and ability to create problems for the opposition in the press. He just needs to add more to his offensive game and continue to fill out to hang in the paint against tougher competition.

The Gators could also get creative and move one of their small forwards to get minutes at power forward. Casey Prather (6-6, 208) and Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8, 205) could both play power forward and have at other times in their college careers. Prather played it last season as Florida struggled with frontcourt depth, and Finney-Smith played the position at Virginia Tech before transferring.

Both have the ability to play power forward if Florida needs it, but they'll likely see most minutes at small forward.

The Gators could also choose to go big at power forward. South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris is eligible this year and will bring depth at center to go along with returning starter Patric Young. It's likely that Florida will play with different lineups in preseason practices, but they could even pair Harris and Young together and go with a big front line.

As it is with most of the positions next season, the Gators will have options with multiple players.

Fightin Gators Top Stories