Grading the Gator Players

Our final look at the 2009-10 Gator basketball team will include grading Gator players for this past campaign. Florida had a similar season to the previous two, but the grades will be better because this team played harder more frequently and consistently than the two previous Florida squads. This team also returned to the NCAA Tournament and gave a great performance in a double overtime loss.

The Gators finished 21-13 this season, 9-7 in the SEC despite playing a much more difficult schedule than the last two years. The Gators ended up with eight players for most of the season, but two of them, Erik Murphy and Ray Shipman got far less playing time than the other six.

The Gators had just two losses to teams with losing records and both of those were in the SEC. Add to those setbacks the South Alabama game and the other ten Gator losses were to teams in the NCAA (9) or NIT (1).

*************************************************************

Kenny Boynton (A-) The freshman guard was one of Florida's two best all around players. He ended up the year Florida top scorer and the Gators were better when he ran the point. His defense was far better than you normally get from a rookie. Two areas of needed improvement forced me to add the "minus". Boynton shot just 29 percent from three point range and grabbed only 2.6 rebounds a game.

Chandler Parsons (A-) If Boynton was not Florida's best all around player Parsons was. He started the season coming off the bench, but eventually returned to the starting lineup. Parsons was the Gators' third leading scorer (12.4) and second best rebounder (6.9). He was also third on the team in assists (88) and steals (39). Parsons cut back on his three point attempts but improved his accuracy. He also beat both N.C. State and South Carolina with shots at the buzzer. Next he needs to work on physical strength and ball handling to be an All-SEC player his senior year.

Erving Walker (B+) Generously listed at 5-8, Florida's diminutive point guard played more minutes (1,119) than any other player on the team. Walker averaged 12.6 points and almost five assists a game. He also grabbed more than 100 rebounds (113), which was 26 more than his back court mate Boynton. Early on he was getting into trouble with his habit of taking the ball too deep into traffic, but he broke that habit only to return to those ways late in the season. Walker did get exposed far too often on defense and the year ended with a growing perception that his best role in the future would be to serve as the first guard off the bench.

Alex Tyus (B) Tyus announced plans to transfer after last season and both Alex and the Gators are better off that he changed his mind. Tyus grabbed one more rebound than Chandler Parsons (234-233), and like Parsons scored over 400 points this season to pass the 1,000 mark for his Gator career. Tyus needs to improve his ball handling and defense significantly if he hopes to play professionally after his senior year.

Vernon Macklin (B-) After a season of sitting out after transferring from Georgetown Macklin gave Florida needed inside scoring and front court strength. His productivity (10.6/5.5) was solid, not spectacular and he gets marked down a bit for his inconsistency. Next year he has to play with more passion and ferocity and do a better job avoiding fouls.

Erik Murphy (C) The 6-9 frontcourt newcomer showed signs that he could be a useful player in the future even though he averaged less than ten minutes a game. Murphy has some skills, but must get much stronger to be able to add significant minutes next season.

Ray Shipman (C-) The soon to be departed wing man had a difficult sophomore campaign where he failed to earn additional playing time. I know I wrote several times that I thought Donovan should have force-fed him more minutes, but the bottom line is you never knew what you were going to get from the former Mr. Basketball. Shipman had his best games in November when he scored nine against FSU and ten in the win over Michigan State but too often he failed to produce. No matter where he is a year from now, he must improve all of his ball skills --- shooting, passing and dribbling --- to be a factor at this level.

Tishman/Kadji/Allen (N/A) Tishman was signed in the supper in hopes he could provide some back court depth. Apparently he couldn't seeing how he played 16 minutes for the entire season. Kadji (back) and Allen (knee) were injured and while Kadji is expected back Florida can not plan on getting anything from Allen in the future.

*************************************************************

So that's the last word (from me) on this past basketball season. There is every reason to believe the 2010-11 Gators will be better with six of the top eight returning and trading Werner and Shipman for Patrick Young and Casey Prather but they must add another player or two to the mix in order to be a top 20 team. Kadji's return could be helpful, but it's on the perimeter where someone must come in and have an impact.


Fightin Gators Top Stories