Second Exhibition Won't Challenge Gators

If you thought the Gators' first exhibition game against St. Leo was easy, wait till you see tonight's "contest". Florida will face Webber International in a 40 minute outing that amounts to organized exercise. Webber has no player taller than 6-5, while Florida if it wanted to could put an entire unit on the floor at that height or taller.

Still, it's a chance for the Gators to play someone else and a chance for fans to get another look at this squad. Florida will try to improve on its biggest weakness in the first game, defensive rebounding. That should be easy to improve against the undersized guys from wherever Webber International is. Oh I'm kidding; I know the school is in Babson Park, Florida. I just don't know where that is. Kidding again, it's south of Lake Wales…. I think. There's a Lake Wales in Florida, right?

Actually if you spell check Babson Park your computer will try to convince you there's no such place. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway Webber does come in with a 2-1 record with wins over Southeastern University and Brewton Parker College and a 52-43 loss to Southern Polytechnic State. (I am not making that up)

Let's move on to some thoughts form Gator Coach Billy Donovan who I bet also has never been to Babson Park or knows where it is.


On rebounding difficulties:

"Probably a lot of it came out of scramble situations when we were coming out of the press. I think when we did rotate guys missed a lot of block outs. That had a lot to do with it. I thought we did a better job in the second half when we went up big and stopped pressing and pretty much went man to man I thought we did a much better job of blocking out and rebounding."

On defensive effort:

"We had some blocked shots in the game that I don't think were realistic blocked shots (against better competition). We did have guys step in and try to take seven charges in the game which is always a positive when guys are putting their bodies out there. But I think we got to have a little bit more resistance at the basket than we did in certain situations. We got to step up and stop drives outside the paint better than we did."

On Shipman accepting his role:

"Since I've been here I've never promised a player a starting position. I've never guaranteed a player minutes. I think that's stuff that those guys decide out on the court every single day at practice. I think that every guy on our team has the ability to go out there and compete and play. I think the thing with Ray that we really talked a lot about in great detail was the fact that he had to be in a lot better shape for him to play in this type of style and the system we're playing. Ray this off season made a strong commitment. He's lost 15 or 16 pounds. He's in the best shape of his life, (and) he's changed his body and there are other things he's doing."

On what he expects from Vernon Macklin:

"Vern has just got to focus on three things that he can control every single game. The first thing is he's got to run the floor and use his athleticism because he's a phenomenal runner. There should not be a single possession on offense or defense that he's not running. The next things that he needs to do is has to be an energy guy on both ends of the floor. He needs to be an energy offensive rebounder and he needs to be an energy defender. He's got to stay down in his stance and move his feet. He has to provide more resistance in the paint and be a better help defender. Those things that he can control are where his focus needs to be and he's trying to do that. One of the things I admire and respect and love about Vern is he's a good listener and I think he wants to be a good player."

Donovan said he wants all of his players to spend some time in the press during the exhibition games even when the lineup on the floor may not be as great pressing group. He also says despite St Leo's poor shooting percentage in the first exhibition the Gators did not do a great job challenging every shot. He says he wants to see improvements individually and collectively in this second pre-season contest.

The game will be broadcast live at 7:00 on AM-850 WRUF in Gainesville and for those of you outside the Gainesville area.

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