Gator players speak out on Coach White

In the short time he’s been Florida’s head basketball coach, Mike White has been forging new relationships and getting the players he inherited from Billy Donovan comfortable with the direction he plans to take the Gators. Wednesday afternoon, Alex Murphy, Devin Robinson and DeVon Walker spent some time with the media discussing their impressions of what lies ahead for Florida basketball.

INITIAL REACTION TO THE HIRING OF Michael White

Alex Murphy: “I was excited. I had heard his name was at the top of the list, like a couple of days before that. I asked around, did a little bit of research myself. Everything I heard was positive. Great coach, great person. I was anxious to get down here and meet him for myself. In the short time we’ve been together, he’s lived up to everything that I’ve heard.”

Devin Robinson: “We were like, who’s this guy? We hadn’t been hearing much about him so we did our research and we brought him in like he was one of our own, like he’s been here for 10-plus years so we just brought him in and accepted we have a new coach and jet getting ready to go.

“We looked up his resume, how many wins he had at Louisiana Tech, what guys he got in the NBA, just basic research and that sort of thing.”

THOUGHTS ABOUT WHITE NOW THAT YOU’VE MET

Alex Murphy: “The transition was a good fit. Good energy now. The coaching staff, it’s a lot younger than this last coaching staff.”

“He’s very energetic. A young guy, 38 years old. He likes being around us and communicating with us. Already he’s developed a relationship with a lot of us guys. Obviously, we have to continue to build trust, but he’s an energetic guy. He has a lot of passion. He’s great to be out there on the court with. More importantly, he seems like a good person. Obviously, he can coach Xs and Os and bring a group of guys together and coach a team, but he seems like a great guy.”

Devin Robinson: “The transition it was a good fit. Good energy now. The coaching staff, it’s a lot younger than this last coaching staff, they are more energetic, can relate to us as players. It’s a lot more energy, a lot more excitement, just gets go going.”

DeVon Walker: “It’s great, he picked up right where Coach D left off. And I’m pretty sure he’s going to try and take it to another level so it’s probably going to get way harder.”

WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT HIS STYLE

Alex Murphy: “It’s definitely exciting. I’ve watched a little bit of film of his teams from last year. They play fast. They had some junkyard dogs. When they were in the press they would go take that ball from other teams. They averaged a lot of points. They created a lot of their offense with defense, turning teams over. Offensively, he let those guys play with a lot of freedom. Pretty similar to Coach Donovan, a lot of open court and dribble drive. They definitely shot a lot of 3s. It’s all pretty appealing and pretty exciting stuff.”

Devin Robinson: “Oh yeah, it will [work in the SEC] because a lot of SEC players are big and slow maybe so this up pace basketball, trapping everywhere in the corners and stuff, it’s definitely gonna change the tempo.”

“The transition will be easy because we’ve played this before; a high pace, we tried to press and stuff. So it’s not gonna be that much different. It’s not like we’re going from a high octane offense to a slow down Georgetown offense, so it’s not gonna be that much of a difference.”

DeVon Walker: “It should be fun, a lot of shots go up and we should have a high scoring offense.”

HOW ARE THE COACHES INTERACTING IN WORKOUTS?

Alex Murphy: “Coach White’s brought a lot of energy, him and the staff. Young group of men, so, you know, they’re fun to be around. They’re out there during workouts with us with pads, with gloves on, hitting us (when) finishing at the rim, that sort of stuff. But nah, they’ve been great in workouts and up in the offices to. A lot of us have got a chance to go up there and begin to develop a relationship and get to know them. Not only do they seem like great coaches, they seem like great people, as well, so it’s been exciting.”

Devin Robinson: “They are actually on the court with us, holding the dummies, smacking us with the dummies, they are talking trash to us, they just get us going, get under our skin, boil us up, you just get going. They are out there a lot of more physical than the last coaching staff.”

DeVon Walker: “They’re great. They’re great, they’re just like players man, they talk trash to you they motivate you, they hype you up. They make noise it’s great. You feel great every time you’re out on the court with them.”

ABOUT NEXT SEASON

Alex Murphy: “We have a lot to work on. Obviously you don’t want to dwell on the past too much, but we definitely want to learn from last year. It’s definitely a good learning experience. Obviously, like I said, you don’t want to be down on yourself or keep reminding yourself or put pressure on yourself next year that, ‘oh, we can’t do what we did last year.’ But if we can take some of the mistakes that we made and some of the things that happened last year and learn from them and help us grow that would be the best thing.”

Devin Robinson: “There’s probably a lot of doubters out there like, oh, Florida is not the same, they are not going to be the same program, they are not going to compete like they used to because they don’t have Coach D. We don’t listen to that. We’re going to keep getting better. The only thing is the coaching staff changed, not the players. So we’re going to get in the gym, keep working to get better.”

“Of course, we’re playing with a chip on our shoulder. We have a lot to prove. We had a rough season last year so we got a lot to prove this season.”

DeVon Walker: “I think everybody in here is joined together, we’re gelling and continue to make this a national program and take us to higher levels.”

“It’s a different team than last year’s teams. We have more guys who can play their roles instead of people who want to be this and that. So it’s gonna be different; we’re gonna play for each other, more team basketball so it’s not just one play here, one play there. We’re all gonna play collectively as a team so that’s gonna be a big difference.”

DEVIN ROBINSON TALKS John Egbunu AND Brandone Francis

“From Brandon you’re gonna expect, he’s gonna bring a lot of energy. He’s a high energy guy. He’s gonna play hard, he’s gonna compete. He wants to win just as much as the next guy.”

“Egbunu, he’s gonna bring the power and the strength. He’s like the horse of our team so he’s gonna carry all our slacks so them two ready to go.”

ALEX MURPHY TALKS ABOUT DEVO COMING BACK FROM AN ACL

“He’s [DeVon Walker] been doing workouts with us. He hasn’t played five-on-five pickup, but he’s been able to do individual workouts. He’s moving great. DeVo is a warrior. He obviously had a really, really hard year. But to bounce back the way he has, and recover, and stick with the process, it’s been inspiring to a lot of people. To see him back on the court with us working out, he looks really good. He’s moving good, finishing above the rim and looks like he hasn’t missed a step.”

DEVO ON HAVING TO SIT OUT LAST YEAR INJURED

That was probably the hardest point in my life athletically. I just wanted to be out there with my guys and my brothers, and actually play. That’s the toughest thing and be actually able to eat with them and endure a war with them, that’s all I wanted.”

“Extremely tough, extremely tough because you’re almost helpless. You can’t help them and I tried to do as much as I can with talking and inspiration but I wish I could have done a little bit more.”


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