Needing to Respond

Last week, the Florida Gators were coming off back-to-back wins to start the SEC season, but then they fell to Ole Miss on the road. Once again, the Gators are coming off a big win against Kentucky over the weekend, and head coach Billy Donovan is anxious to see how his young team responds.

There are a few differences separating the two situations. For starters, Florida's game against Auburn last week was a noontime tip, which gave the Gators the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday off. It then took some time for them to get back into the swing of things at practice.

"I did not think we handled 2-0 very well," Billy Donovan said. "I did not like our focus and our disposition heading into the Ole Miss game and that's my fault. I'm hoping they can handle what happened Saturday a little bit better. They handle adversity better than they handle prosperity."

With the way Donovan expects the SEC season to play out, Florida could be trying to bounce out of a lot of emotional wins, so they better get used to it.

"There are a lot of emotional games in this league," he said. "We found a way to make some plays in overtime against Kentucky, but that's the way this league is going to be. The biggest thing for our guys is how we handle that."

When the Gators get back to work on Monday afternoon, they'll be without their freshman point guard Jai Lucas. Lucas went down against Kentucky with a knee injury but returned to finish the game, including a clutch free throw at the end of regulation. He won't practice on Monday but could be back for Tuesday's workout.

"He's considerably better," Donovan said. "They were worried a little bit about maybe a tear in his meniscus. They don't think that's the case. He didn't have any swelling, but he probably has some bruising on his bone. He hyper-extended his knee."

Without Lucas, the Gators will only have eight scholarship players at practice.

"We really need to do some things in practice to get prepared and do some different things to get these guys ready," Donovan said.

Parsons expanding role

Chandler Parsons only scored six points on Saturday against Kentucky after a 15-point performance at Ole Miss. But the freshman forward is trying to find other ways to help out his team when the shots aren't falling. Against the ‘Cats, Parsons grabbed four rebounds, blocked a shot, dished out three assists and had two steals.

"He's trying," Donovan said. "There are some areas that Chandler can really get better in and his team thinks that he can do physically. There are some things I see that he can do physically and things I've seen him not do physically."

"I've been trying to do a lot other than scoring points," Parsons said. "When the shots aren't falling, I have to find other ways to stay on the floor and if that's taking charges or blocking shots or getting deflections, then I'll do it."

Parsons' contributions on Saturday night didn't go unnoticed. He played a career-high 29 minutes against Kentucky.

"He can screen better," Donovan said. "He had one drive on a fast break in the second half where he floated away from the basket and he tried to dunk one back in and he missed. All those things I think he can get better at."

Donovan said the most important thing Parsons can do to improve his game, like all young players, is to play with more consistency.

Not messing with the form

Donovan tries to improve on most parts of a player's game, but one area he tries not to mess with is a shooter's form.

"When they get here and they've been doing the same thing for 18 years, you can see some of the things that they are doing wrong and you can make some minor adjustments," Donovan said. "For example, I think Nick leans too far back sometimes when he shoots and doesn't use his legs as much. We'll bring that to his attention, but in terms of hand placement and release points and things like that, when you start doing that to guys, they shoot the ball worse."

Donovan said Lee Humphrey had a tendency to release the ball on the way down on his jump shots. But he wasn't going to mess with Humphrey's release since the former Gator was a career 43 percent shooter from behind the arc.

Donovan said that the best two shooters he's ever coached were Travis Ford who he coached as an assistant at Kentucky and former Gator Brett Nelson who made 39.8 percent of his long-range shots.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Chris Chmielenski


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