Notebook: Carter settling in

The Florida coaches are still managing how much Eli Carter is on the court during practice, but when he's out there, it's easy to see his talent. The transfer guard broke his leg last season at Rutgers. The injury is fully healed, but Florida head coach Billy Donovan thinks it's still in the back of his mind. His play in practice shows what he'll bring to the floor this season.

"Really good feel of how to play," Billy Donovan said of Eli Carter. "He really understands the game and has an awareness out there. He knows how to play. You can tell he's a veteran guy, even being somewhat hobbled. He can be productive out there because he knows how to play.

"He understands extra passing, ball movement, spacing and how to come off screens. Those kind of things, he already has down."

The coaches continue to take it slow with Carter, but Donovan said on Thursday that he is fully healed. The coaches think the injury could be creeping in the back of his mind and causing him to play slow with the fear of re-injury.

"The biggest thing for us is getting him to the point where he's moving, currently and sprinting in a way where he's back to where he was."

Donovan has thought about a potential lineup with Carter and Michael Frazier on the court at the same time, balancing the floor with shooters. He's hesitant to put too much pressure on Carter as he focuses on just getting back to where his play was at Rutgers when he was completely healthy.

"I'm really leery with him," Donovan said. "I don't want to get my hopes up too high or his hopes up too high. He's working every day to get back. We're hopeful and optimistic, but I'm not going into the season with this great hope that he's going to be a focal point. He hasn't done enough to put him in that situation.

"He's fully healed, so he's not in harm's way of reinjuring himself. He's fully healed, but he needs to get more strength in his foot, more strength in his calf. He needs to be more explosive. He needs to lose a little more weight. There's thing he needs to do to get back to that level."

TWIN TOWERS: The Gators could have their own version of the twin towers this season. Donovan has thought about playing Damontre Harris (6-10) and Patric Young (6-9) on the floor at the same time, sliding Young to power forward with Harris playing center.

The added size on this year's team gives Florida the opportunity to create matchup issues. Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8) can play guard or forward in those lineups, making it even tougher on the opposition.

"The idea of playing big with Patric Young and Damontre Harris at times will be something that we'll look at," Donovan said. "Taking a guy like Dorian Finney-Smith and going big across the front line, moving him to the small forward spot at times. We can do some things that we maybe didn't have the luxury of doing a year ago."

Young is excited about potentially playing power forward after serving as the team's starting center the past two years. He's realistic about his chances at the next level and that a position switch might have to occur when he starts his professional career.

"It will be nice because I'll play a more natural position for myself, something that I'll play more in the NBA – a forward instead of a center," Young said. "It'll help lighten the load on the rebounding end. I know I can count on Damontre defending because he has a heck of a wingspan and can block a lot of shots, a lot more shots than I can. It'll feel great to know that I have that guy next to me."

REPLACING SCORING: The Gators are replacing 36.7 of their 71.4 points per game last season with the graduation of Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario. Young is leading returning scorer at 10.1 points per game, but he has never been depended on to lead the team in scoring.

There are questions about how the Gators will score points this season, but Donovan isn't concerned. He said it's similar to the 2006 season after Florida lost David Lee, Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh. There were questions that season about how the team would score, but they used ball movement to create opportunities for each other.

"You look on paper and say, ‘who is going to score?' We've got to score by utilizing each other," Donovan said. "That's a big part of what we need to be offensively. We need to be a high assist team and take advantage of each other's strengths on the offensive end. Try to manufacture points as a group instead of relying on one guy."

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