A Six-Pack Q & A with Mark Wise -- 12-15-08

Twice a month Larry Vettel will sit down with Florida basketball's color commentator on the Gators Radio Network, Mark Wise. In this installment, Wise talks about Alex Tyus, the departure of Jai Lucas and the state of the SEC.

Is Alex Tyus for real? Meaning will he be a consistent 12/6 guy against SEC competition?

Yes. If he can do what he did against Syracuse and Washington there is not any reason to think otherwise. There have been several areas of marked improvement. One, he does have a little jump hook that is effective. Two, he has worked on his face up jumper and is confident with it. Lastly, he can rebound balls out of his area code. What I mean is those balls that are not right at you. He has a quick jump and combines a long wing span and a willingness to chase down balls that lead to his rebounding numbers. The length of FSU gave him some problems but very few teams have hat kind of extra length.

In what way(s) has the absence of Jai Lucas hurt more than was expected?

Lucas leaving meant that Calathes is THE point guard, not for 10 minutes a game but for 30. That involves more than what play are they running. What defense does coach want? Who is back? Where does each player like to have the ball? Where are my shots coming from? How do I make everyone around me better? Billy wants Nick to run the team and that is MORE than being the point. Unfortunately, that process does not happen overnight. Lucas allowed Nick to play without a lot of responsibility. You cannot do that from the point guard position.

Why has Walter Hodge been so inconsistent in his scoring?

Hodge and his production, or lack thereof at times, is a real mystery to me. The shooting guard will not always get a wide open look, and I think there are times when Hodge is waiting to be wide open. He is going to have to be more of a threat. He has to be on the other team's radar that he might get 15 on you. You cannot do that if you are only shooting 4-5 times a game. He needs to be in that 8-9 FGA area to be more consistent.

With the game on the line what five players do you want on the court?

Now isn't this the conundrum for this team? It depends on what you need. If it is a defensive stop, I like Calathes, Hodge, Shipman, Werner and Tyus.If you need a hoop I take out Hodge and Shipman and put in Walker and Parsons. But ask me again in two weeks and I might have a different answer! Heck, ask me again in five minutes and it could change. This is the problem Billy is having --- finding consistency, and determining who to play at what time.

Which SEC team looks to be better than expected and why?

Well, until Saturday I would have said Tennessee. Even with their lack of a point guard they pretty much dictate the way the game is going to be played. I think you have to attack them, be willing to win 90-84 and understand a game with them will be filled with scoring runs for both teams. LSU gets consideration here but their schedule is just too pitiful to get a read at this time. I still think the sleeper team could be South Carolina with Devan Downey.

Which SEC team looks to be worse than expected and why?

This one I struggled with. I think the league is down for sure, so I am not necessarily surprised. Kentucky needs a point guard, Vandy cannot replace Foster, Georgia has bangers but no perimeter game, and Auburn just cannot catch a break. They have all had losses that are hard to explain. If I have to choose one I'll go with Big Blue since the bar is so high at Kentucky to begin with. I know Jodie Meeks is a very good wing, but until Patrick Patterson gets more shots on a nightly basis they will continue to roller coaster their way along.

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