Completely understand that some people might think this post is out of place. After all the Gator Football team is 6-0 and #2 in the BCS, #3 in the AP, and #4 in the Coaches Poll. But whether you realize it or not, College basketball is about to start and your Florida Gators are ranked 10th in the Coaches Poll. The Gators first official game is right around the corner, they will face off against Georgetown on November 9th on the USS Bataan.
The last two seasons have seen the return of Gator Basketball to the national stage. Back to back Elite 8’s have shown that the Gator Men’s Basketball Program is healthy, strong, and dangerous. Admittedly the back to back Elite 8 losses were brutal because both games just seemed to slip through our fingers, and the Gators were forced to watch the Final Four at home in Gainesville. But, this 2012-2013 season has a ton of promise and a ton of great story lines and question marks:
- Who leads this team? Patric Young or Kenny Boynton? Will Erik Murphy step up?
- Who is going to (successfully) run the point now that Erving Walker has graduated?
- Is this the season where Young breaks out, matching his scoring and defense to his athleticism?
- Will Kenny Boynton finish the season as the Gators All-Time Leading Scorer?
- Will Cody Larson ever get his scholarship back?
Let’s start with some of the easier questions. Cody Larson has not done everything off the court needed to satisfy Billy Donovan. So until then he can forget his scholarship. We are not going to dwell on his past legal issues or speculate on what he has to do to get his scholarship back, but Larson did see playing time last year in 25 games and it is unfortunate to see any Gator athlete lose his/her scholarship.
With Erving Walker graduating the logical choice at point guard is Junior Scottie Wilbekin. With only a few official practices under their belt, Donovan appears to be leaning to start Wilbekin. And with an assist to turnover ratio of 122 to 50 (in limited action off the bench) who wouldn’t. Scottie came to UF at 17 years old, and people have been talking about how young he is for two years. As a Junior Wilbekin can not hide behind his age any more, he has to tote the rock and do so successfully for the Gators to have a great season. We are probably going to need him to increase his shooting attempts as well.
Patric Young is an athletic freak, and the media constantly reminds us of it with comparisons to Dwight Howard. But Young has had a busy/interesting off-season. He has been grinding hard doing unorthodox workouts (keg lifts, tire flips, etc.), he also went to Africa on Mission with some other Gator Athletes (you can see Trey Burton score a goal on Young), and then over the last month or so has been battling mononucleosis. Hopefully he will bounce back from the illness quickly. Everyone would love to see Patric score more by displaying a solid post game, but honestly if the Gators can get 10 points and 10-12 rebounds a game out him that would be fantastic.
Erik Murphy and Kenny Boynton are the two true Seniors on the squad this year (Guard Mike Rosario is a Redshirt Senior). Both will have to step up as leaders on and off the court, and with the departure of Bradley Beal both are going to have to score more too. Murphy saw some success last year in what was arguably a breakout year for him. Erik took 270 shots and started in 32 out of 34 games last year, compared to taking only 105 shots and starting only one game in his Sophomore season. Kenny Boynton is the Gators most consistent scorer, over his career he is averaging between 14.0 to 15.9 points per game. If Kenny stays healthy and shoots consistently (above 40% from the field) then not only will the Gators likely have a successful season but Boynton will go down as the Gators All-Time Leading scorer by seasons end. Boynton has quietly put together quite the career, and if he can lead the Gators back to the Final Four he will likely go down as one of the greatest Gator hoopsters of all time.
Despite the awful reading by a few of the players this is a pretty awesome video of Gator players, coaches, Gator NBA’ers, and even an appearance by someone’s wife. It’ll not only get you hype for the season but it really shows you how just a few plays can swing an entire season:
H/T Chris Harry from Gatorzone.com for the Youtube Video
Here is what the Gators are up against this season: The 2012-2013 Gator Men’s Basketball Schedule