Florida Basketball

I’ve been a huge Gator Basketball fan since I enrolled at Florida in ’98. Thanks to my extended stay as an engineer, I got to see 5.5 basketball seasons as a student (I’m finishing the 6th right now).

This basketball season has been up and down and I’m confident it can go up again before the end of the tournament in March. As a whole, our team plays well together and has a lot of talent. When our shooters get hot, I think we’re capable of smoking any other team in Divsion 1-A: one of our Point Gaurds, Anthony Roberson, shot 46% from 3-point land over a 10-game stretch and one of our Centers, David Lee, made 16 straight jumpers over a couple game stretch. We have other shooters–Lee Humphry, Matt Walsh (when he’s on), Christian Drejer–who can light it up, too. Our transition offense is solid and, if our defense is pullin’ its weight, we can run up serious numbers on points scored off turnovers.

Those are the positives. There are a few negatives, but I think all of them are correctable by Tourney time: our transition defense still needs work, our defense down low seems beaten easily, especially off the dribble, and we sometimes depend too much on our 3-point shooting. The good news is that our transition defense has been steadily improving since the beginning of the season (I think that was the one thing that really lost the Maryland game earlier this season) and our dependency on the 3-point shot isn’t all bad since we have Lee, Moss, Richard and Colas inside. Lee is a phenomenal offensive player and Moss and Richard will be, eventually. Colas has bulked up a little and he holds his own, but he needs to work on his strength when gathering in rebounds.

One thing I think we really need to work on is our defense down low. On the surface, the problem might seem related to our centers not holding their own, but that’s not the case. The real problem is that our help defense is slow. In fact, I think our whole defense could be quite a bit more aggressive, both on the perimeter and in the paint. The problem down low is that our guys don’t help quick enough when the other team penetrates from the perimeter off the dribble. I think our centers do a great job fronting on defense, but they don’t seem to help out quick enough when the ball is moving around and they’re defending a spot instead of a person. This allows a lot of baskets by the other teams guards and small forwards who are quick and can get within 10 feet or so for a good look.

I think our problem on the perimeter is that we aren’t aggressive enough with attacking the gaurds. We allow them to bring the ball too far in before we start defending them. I think our defense needs to compensate for lack of speed helping by being more aggressive outside the 3-point line. We need to create turnovers before the other team even gets set up in their half-court offense. Our full-court trap is good, but I’m afraid it causes more trouble than its worth since teams seem to score easily if they get past the press.

I guess this is a lot of rambling, but these are my thoughts. I hope we get past the first weekend in the Tourney this year and I know we’re capable of playing with any other team if we get things rolling. I can’t wait to see what we’re capable of over the next few weeks.