Donovan Welcomes Macklin

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan will add six newcomers to his squad for the 2008-09 season and the first one in is the last one who will get to play. Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin has already enrolled at UF after two frustrating seasons riding the pine in Washington D.C.

A prep school teammate of Marreese Speights, Vernon Macklin will have to sit out the upcoming season before playing his final two years for the Gators.

Tuesday Florida's head man met with a bunch of media types to discuss a number of topics, among them the addition of Macklin to his roster.

"He's here right now, and it was a really quick turnaround for him," Donovan said. "He had a final exam in Georgetown on Friday and we started summer school on Monday. Georgetown was very cooperative and got us his grades very quickly so he's enrolled."

Macklin is a 6-9, 227-pound center/forward that spent most of his time at Georgetown watching All-American Roy Hibbert. Last year he averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds while playing about 13 minutes a game. He had career highs with 18 points and 26 minutes in a win at St. Johns. He made almost 60 percent of his field goals in his two years, but shot a miserable 31 percent from the free throw line. Perhaps his best stat from last season is that he blocked 25 shots. Donovan admitted he had not seen much of Macklin on the court.

"My only view of Vernon is what I've watched on film at Georgetown and what I remember from when he was in high school," Donovan said. "I think that he certainly provides a lot of athleticism to our frontcourt. He provides a lot of experience. He's played as a program that's been to the Final Four. He's played in a program that's been in the top ten all year long, and I think there's a different element he can bring to our team leadership wise. Probably the thing I've talked to him the most about is taking the experiences he's had at Georgetown and helping our younger guys. But he has to get adjusted too and get to know his teammates."

While Macklin is a good athlete his limited playing time has raised some questions about just how good he really is. Donovan said there are pretty good reasons why Macklin had trouble getting on the court for the Hoyas.

"He was probably a young man coming out of school who had this huge, huge reputation. Then he comes in there playing alongside a Jeff Green, a Hibbert. Those two guys are really good players. So he was in a situation where he didn't get to play as much, but a lot of that had to do with (the fact that) he was around really good players. I think he's going to try and utilize this year to get better and improve and maybe live up to some of his own individual expectations of what he thinks he can become as a player. "

Often players transfer because of problems at the previous school. However, Donovan said that's not the case with Vernon Macklin.

"I've got great respect for Georgetown's program and John Thompson. In my conversations with him, sometimes things just don't work out. It's a similar situation with us and Jonathan Mitchell. Jonathan is a great kid. He's a good worker, but maybe for us it wasn't the right fit. He probably wanted to play a little bit more and maybe getting a fresh start for him is better, and I think Vernon's looking at it the same way."

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel


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