Richard Surprise Of Hoops Scrimmage

The Florida Gators men's basketball team opened its practice to the public Thursday evening with a session at the O'Connell Center. The highlight for the several hundred fans who attended was five five-minute scrimmages that gave a glimpse of the talent and athleticism on this year's roster.

Coach Billy Donovan ran the team hard in half-court drills before the scrimmages, even making the team run certain drills longer and harder until he was satisfied with the effort they were giving.

He split the team into two for the scrimmages with the white team featuring Al Horford, David Huertas, Jimmie Sutton, Brett Swanson, Garrett Tyler, and Taurean Green. The blue team featured Chris Richard, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Lee Humphrey, Walter Hodge and Jack Berry.

The scrimmages were dominated by the blue team. The surprise for the blue was power forward Chris Richard, showing some offensive aggressiveness that's been missing his first two years here at Florida.

Coach Donavan believes the reason is because of Richard's health.

"Chris has really made some great strides from last season to this one because, he is finally healthy," said Donovan. "He had a chance to improve many things such as his body, conditioning, and his game."

Sophomore center Joakim Noah and junior shooting guard Lee Humphrey also turned in outstanding efforts.

Noah ran the court well, showing the same type of energy as last year but far more control. Humphrey is a shooting guard but he played the point for awhile and actually looked decent playing a position he hasn't played since high school.

Donavan says that Humphrey worked this past summer to improve his ball handling skills.

"I felt that Lee became one dimensional last season," said Donovan. "I thought for him to grow as a player he would have to improve his confidence and get comfortable with handling the ball."

The Gators looked comfortable playing in an up and down game, getting the ball out on the break and running the floor. Florida also showed a good full court press. It's obvious the Gators will be relying heavily on a transition game this season.

Donovan was not pleased with the white team's effort.

"I think that the white team acted very immature because things were not going their way," said Donovan. "I told the blue team after the scrimmage that it's easy to high five, chess bump, but what happens when you are down, what happens when things aren't going your way?"

Overall, the scrimmage was good. The team played hard and looked defensive minded. The strength of the front court was obvious with the play of Horford, Noah and Richard. Walter Hodge looked explosive and not afraid to drive the ball into traffic. David Huertas shot the three-point shot well. Huertas is still learning the system along with fighting a language barrier. Jimmie Sutton looked winded at times during the scrimmage. Sutton was just released to practice with the team after rehabbing a knee injury for several months. He is behind on drills and conditioning because of a knee injury. Taurean Green played aggressive defense. Green seemed to have a good grasp on the offense. Corey Brewer looked impressive on defense and his continued his aggressive style of play on the offensive end. Brewer was taking guys off the dribble and staying under control while doing so.

The Gator team taking the court this season will be defensive minded and will play the transition game sparked by their play of defense. Look for Hodge to see the court early and often as a backup to Green at the point and sometimes in the lineup with Green.

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