2009-2010 FLORIDA GATORS BASKETBALL PREVIEW
Billy Donovan faces, with the upcoming 2009-20010 season, a number of challenges in returning this team to the top of the SEC. Unlike previous years, this team enters the 2009-2010 with, potentially, more questions to answer than answers provided, and as such, it is difficult to have any real confidence that this team will be ready and able to make a deep NCAA Tournament run. However, Donovan has made wine out of water in the past, and it would surprise no one if he was able to bring this team deep into the postseason once again.
The first thing that Donovan needs to do is figure out a way to compensate for one of the best players in the conference last season, First Team
All Conference talent Nick Calathes. Calathes provided the Gators with an immense strata of talent all over the court, and was one of the best ball handlers in the nation. He also knew how to put the ball in the basket, averaging 17 points per game last season. However, in a somewhat surprising move, Calathes decided to forego his senior season for the opportunity to play overseas.
Calathes is clearly the biggest and most irreplaceable departure on the Gators squad this season. So the next question inevitably has to be, who do the Gators have coming in to, hopefully, fill some of that void? Well, Florida has a very talented incoming freshman class this year, and the class is highlighted by two marquis recruits, Kenny Boynton, and Erik Murphy.
Boynton is an elite recruit, a five star player by all major talent rating agencies. He's a shooting guard by nature, so he may not be able to directly step in and handle the ball handling that the team will be losing with the loss of Calathes, but he is projected to be a scorer from day one, and as such, he will probably be the go to guy when the need arises to get a big play, and as such, that element of Calathes's game he should be able to compensate for. Murphy, on the other hand, is another top talent, rated four stars by most rating services. He's a grinder who does a lot of things well but few truly exceptionally, and will need to polish his game. He will contribute from day one, but will need to work to become more than that.
These two young recruits will be joining the returning talent on the Florida basketball team. And despite some of the aforementioned losses, there is ample talent returning (particularly now that Alex Tyus decided to come back). Indeed, Alex Tyus, the talented power forward, tested the waters before ultimately deciding to return to Florida for his junior year. Tyus is an elite inside player, able to finish effectively around the basket, and able to rebound well. He may be called upon to shoulder more of the scoring load this season, and part of that may involve stepping out to diversify his game.
Sophomore Irving Walker is another player who is going to be expected to do more for the team in 2009-2010, however, in exactly what capacity remains to be seen. As a shooting guard, it is up in the air how exactly Billy Donovan will manage to juggle playing time between the impressive sophomore and the blue chip recruit Boynton. Chandler Parsons and Dan Werner are also going to0 be relied upon to contribute in an added capacity this season.
All told, Florida should be good once again, but just how good is going to depend on a number of key factors: how well the youngsters adapt, how much more the returning players are able to do from last season, and how Billy Donovan is able to manage the loss of Calathes.
If you are looking for our 2008-2009 Florida Gators Basketball page, check out 2008-2009 Florida Gators Basketball.
You can read more about the Florida basketball team at 2007-2008 Florida Basketball or Florida Basketball History. And, if going to a Florida b-ball game, check out University of Florida - Gainesville -- Trip.
Learn all about Why Albert and Alberta is the Gators Mascot and Why Florida picked blue and orange as its color?
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