SEC Hoops Previews 2004-05: Florida

2003-04 was an uncharacteristic down year for Florida. Rocked by the midseason departure of Christian Drejer, the Gators finished only 9-7 in the SEC and laid an egg in the NCAA Tournament. But stars Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh and Cliff Richard (left) return for 2004-05, and Coach Billy Donovan brings in a typically stellar recruiting class that includes Midstate product Corey Brewer. VandyMania's VeeMan takes a long, hard look at the Gator roster. (Part 11 of 12)

******

Coach: Billy Donovan 2003-04 Record: 20-11, 9-7 SEC

Returning Players

NAME CLASS MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Anthony Roberson Jr 31.2 17.9 46.2 42.5 85.9 3.0 3.6
Matt Walsh Jr 33.1 15.8 44.4 34.6 82.4 4.8 2.7
David Lee Sr 27.5 13.3 58.8 ---- 77.2 6.8 2.1
Adrian Moss Jr 22.7 6.8 49.7 27.3 62.7 4.6 0.6
Lee Humphrey Soph 19.0 3.8 47.2 43.9 55.6 1.2 1.1
Chris Richard Soph 13.0 3.8 60.5 ---- 55.3 2.6 0.1
Mohamed Abukar Soph 13.4 2.7 34.1 26.6 57.1 2.1 1.4

Players Lost

NAME MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Christian Drejer 29.5 10.2 46.8 39.3 75.0 4.8 4.0
Bonell Colas 17.6 4.9 53.8 ---- 63.4 3.1 0.8
Rashid Al-Kaleem 8.3 3.0 38.9 36.6 85.7 0.7 0.4
Ryan Appleby 8.0 1.0 33.3 35.7 70.0 0.5 1.2

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Corey Brewer 6-7 Freshman #33
Joakim Noah 6-10 Freshman #39
Al Horford 6-8 Freshman #68
Taurean Green 5-11 Freshman #136
Cornelius Ingram 6-5 Freshman #230

Roles

Anthony Roberson (6-1) returns to start at point guard, but don't be surprised if he sees a lot of action on the wing because of the presence of an excellent freshman point guard prospect, Taurean Green (son of ex-NBA player Sidney Green). Matt Walsh will certainly start on one wing, with Abukar (6-10), Brewer, and Humphrey (6-2) competing for time on the other. Lee and Moss (both 6-9) will start at the post positions, and Richard (6-8), Noah, and Horford will provide depth. Ingram isn't likely to get much time.

Scoring

With three of the best returning players in the SEC (Roberson, Walsh, and Lee), all double-digit scorers, the Gators have a long start in this department. Roberson is one of the best three-point shooters anywhere, and Walsh, Humphrey and Abukar are proven long-distance bombers. Walsh, Brewer, and Green can all drive to the basket. Underneath, it is likely to be a committee effort to help out Lee.

Rebounding and Defense

Florida was a very young team last year, giving up 69 points per game, and the defense should certainly be improved by the increased experience. Brewer, according to Donovan, could become a defensive stopper. There is more size underneath, with a senior (Lee), a junior (Moss), and a sophomore (Richard) getting significant help from a couple of talented freshmen (Noah and Horford).

Question Marks?

Because of his recruiting success, Donovan always has the problem of trying to keep everyone happy. In the offseason he lost Al-Kaleem and Appleby for that reason, but the addition of an excellent playmaker (Green) should offset their loss. Donovan (right) had another good recruiting year, and is now in danger of having more highly-ranked young players becoming upset over lack of playing time, a negative factor in terms of team chemistry. It is a balancing act, but one that other coaches in the SEC wouldn't mind having to perform.

Overall Prospects for 2004-05

The Gators finished badly last season, never quite recovering from the unexpected departure of Drejer with seven games left in the regular season. Nonetheless, they have to be favored to win the SEC East this year and to return to the NCAA, where they lost in embarrassing fashion to Manhattan in the first round. This year they should stay around much longer.


Commodores Daily Top Stories