The beginning of KeVaughn Allen’s college career has featured plenty of ups and downs. The freshman hasn’t been able to put together back-to-back impressive games until this week.
After 11 points against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Allen posted a career-high 15 points with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 25 minutes.
“I was really pleased with him,” Florida coach Mike White said. “It’s the first time he’s put together two in a row. He was tremendous in the open floor and made some great passes in transition. He showed how athletic and explosive he is. Three assists and zero turnovers is great for a freshman.”
The challenge for the Florida staff has been getting Allen to be aggressive. As a first-year player, he didn’t want to step on toes and steal shots from some of the veteran players. That has led to Allen passing up on open shots and giving the ball to teammates instead of trying to score.
He’s now starting to search for his own shot and hit it consistently. White said even before the start of the season that the staff has plenty of confidence in Allen as a shooter, and he’s starting to shoot like they know he can. He’s adding the defensive energy to that and becoming a complete player before the start of conference play.
“He spent a lot of time in the gym lately and he’s playing with more confidence,” White said. “He was really disruptive with pressure defense. He has quick hands and will stick his nose in there. That allows him to get out in the open floor.”
POINT GUARD IMPROVING
The Gators were getting nothing out of the point guard position before the last two games. In wins over Jacksonville and Oklahoma State, point guards Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill have a 21-3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
They’re stuffing the stat sheet while both splitting starters minutes despite Chiozza being in the starting lineup over Hill for the last three games. Against Jacksonville, Hill had nine points, five rebounds and six assists with Chiozza having seven points, five rebounds and seven assists. Against Oklahoma State, Hill had seven points, three rebounds and assists while Chiozza had 11 points, two rebounds and zero assists.
White called their play “very solid” in the last two games and is happy to see improvement from the position.
“Pleased with (Chiozza),” White said. “Kasey, that’s three games in a row where he’s been good coming off the bench. Those guys are playing really well off the point.
“We’re exhausting the break a lot more before we get into halfcourt execution. We’re trying to see what’s there. They’re pushing it aggressively and under control. Our point guards are coming into their own with making good decisions.”
HIGHLIGHT FOR HODSKINS
Florida walk-on Zach Hodskins, who is missing his left arm below the elbow, scored his first career point on Tuesday. The sophomore got into the scorebook during his ninth game of action, hitting a layup with 36 seconds remaining in the game. Hodskins was also fouled on the play but missed the free throw to make it a three-point play.
The layup, which came after a move to get into the paint, set the O’Connell Center into a frenzy and began a celebration on the Florida bench.
“Really happy for Zach, great young man overcoming unbelievable adversity,” White said. “He’s a very likeable young man, you can tell by the decibel level in the O’Dome when he scored. It was a fun moment for our team and Zach. Proud for him, happy for him.”