Eye on the future: Perimeter players

While the depth could be an issue in the frontcourt for Florida during the 2014-15 season, the Gators will have plenty of depth and playmaking from both guards positions and the small forward. The departures of Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin take scoring off the roster, but there's enough depth returning next season to get productive play from all three positions.

The two players most likely locked into starting positions are Michael Frazier and Kasey Hill.

Frazier torched opponents from behind the three-points line as a sophomore, burying 118 three-pointers. He shot 44.7 percent on three-pointers for the season and hit 11 three-pointers against South Carolina to break the school record and SEC record for threes in a conference game.

There's plenty of room for Frazier to improve. In the postseason, teams keyed on taking him out of the game. Many of his three-pointers either sparked or came during the middle of a big Florida run, so opposing teams focused their effort on keeping the sophomore from getting three-pointers. It worked and slowed the Florida offense. Frazier now needs to improve his game after he puts the ball on the ground. While lethal in catch-and-shoot situations, he needs to be a better offensive player in other situations when teams try to take his three-point shooting out of the game.

Frazier can either start at shooting guard, as he did through most of the 2013-14 season, or even move to the small forward position when the Gators go small. The position doesn't matter much. He will be counted on for consistent minutes and scoring next season.

Hill came to Florida with talks of him being a potential one-and-done, but it didn't take long to realize those talks were overblown. He had moments of brilliance as a freshman. Hill electrified the O'Connell Center crowd in transition, using his speed to blow by people and finish with an advanced knowledge around the basket. But there were too many sloppy moments, either bad passes or times when opposing teams stole the ball from him. This was highlighted by his four turnovers against Connecticut.

The next step for Hill comes in ball security and his offensive game. Whenever he had the ball on the perimeter, teams had no respect for his three-point shot. He ended the year shooting 14.3 percent (5-35) from behind the three-point line. He doesn't need to become Frazier from long range, but he has to improve his perimeter shot or else his speed and ability to blow by defenders isn't as deadly since they don't have to guard him closely on the perimeter.

The return of Eli Carter will give the Gators a scorer, whether he's in the starting lineup or comes off the bench. The Rutgers transfer was eligible in 2013-14 but decided to take a redshirt so he could rehab his broken leg suffered before he transferred to Florida. He was noticeably hesitant while playing at the beginning of the year before deciding to take the redshirt.

At Rutgers, Carter played both guard positions and averaged 14.9 points during his second season. His defense does need to improve, but there's no questioning his ability to score.

DeVon Walker showed massive improvement from his freshman to sophomore year. He's able to guard three positions on the floor and played with lots of energy, making his 6-6, 191-pound frame play bigger than that. His three-point shot also improved in SEC play. He'll be a perfect bench piece that provides energy next season.

Alex Murphy was discussed in the piece about Florida's big men, but he is probably a better fit at the small forward position. The Duke transfer simply might have to play more at the power forward because of necessity.

Dillon Graham missed the 2013-14 season with a hip injury that needed surgery. The Gators will continue to take it slow with him before deciding when he will be ready for action.

The freshmen are also talented enough to make an impact. Chris Chiozza will likely be the backup point guard as a freshman behind Hill. The 5-10, 155-pounder from Memphis can shoot the ball well for three and is the perfect fit for Billy Donovan's offense that wants to push the basketball.

Shooting guard Brandone Francis is physically ready as a freshman, standing 6-4, 205 pounds. He's a complete two-guard that is mature enough to play as a freshman if the Gators need him.


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