Florida Gators: Cody Larson

Gators solve scholarship problem

October, 10, 2012
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Patric YoungChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesFlorida junior center Patric Young is feeling good now after missing three weeks due to mononucleosis.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida’s basketball scholarship problem resolved itself over the summer after coach Billy Donovan decided not to renew redshirt sophomore Cody Larson’s scholarship because Larson failed to meet requirements that Donovan set throughout the season and during the offseason.

"There were some things I wanted him to do during the course of the year [and] he knew there was a possibility [that if] he didn’t do these things there was a chance he may not be back and he came up short on those things," Donovan said Wednesday during the team’s annual media day. "I’ve been through some different situations with Cody in trying to help him get better on the court, off the court, in the classroom, and taking care of responsibilities, and it was something he was not doing."

Donovan said he spoke with Larson and his family and said Larson was welcome to return as a nonscholarship player or the coach would approve a transfer. The 6-foot-9, 239-pound Larson, who averaged 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 25 games last season, decided to come back.

"The decision to stay wasn’t hard at all," Larson said. "I know I wanted to stay under Coach Donovan. Not even talking basketball, just being under Coach Donovan is the best thing for me in my life."

UF had to lose one scholarship for this season anyway because the Gators had exceeded the NCAA maximum of 13. Florida signed freshmen Michael Frazier II, Dillon Graham, Braxton Ogbueze and DeVon Walker, and added transfers Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris.

Young healthy again
Center Patric Young says he has fully recovered from a bout of mononucleosis that kept him out of action for three weeks.

"It was tough at first," Young said. "We had our conditioning test this past Tuesday and I passed all the runs, made my times, so I’ll be ready for practice come tomorrow."

Young was diagnosed when classes began in August. He had a severe sore throat, a fever, and was too fatigued to participate in a scheduled workout. After a trip to a doctor, he was diagnosed with mono. He missed three weeks, and Young said it was pretty rough at times.

The 6-9, 249-pound junior said his roommate, teammate Will Yeguete, was worried.

"He said I was looking miserable," Young joked. "He thought I was on my deathbed for a little bit."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan was upbeat on Friday during the news conference announcing Bradley Beal's decision to enter the NBA Draft.

[+] EnlargeBradley Beal
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesGators coach Billy Donovan said he will miss Bradley Beal's team-first attitude and work ethic.
He is obviously sad to see Beal leave, but Donovan shouldn't be devastated for two reasons: He knows things could have been a lot worse, and he had been planning for just this situation.

As the season ended with a loss to Louisville in the Elite Eight, there was speculation the Gators would lose four of their five starters. Erving Walker is graduating, but Beal, Patric Young and Kenny Boynton were also considering leaving. Young and Boynton, however, elected to stay, which means the Gators will have one of the Southeastern Conference's top scorers and big men on the floor in 2012-13.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- When Florida lost Will Yeguete to a broken foot in late February, Billy Donovan knew his team was going to have to undergo a makeover.

[+] EnlargeWill Yeguete
Kim Klement/US PresswireFlorida forward Will Yeguete broke his foot against Auburn on Feb. 21.
Guards Bradley Beal, Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin would have to spend time at power forward to make up for the loss of the Gators’ best rebounder and post defender. UF wouldn’t be as big inside or rebound as well as when the 6-foot-7 Yeguete was on the floor, but using a four-guard lineup would put more 3-point shooters on the floor and allow the Gators to play more in transition.

But reshaping his team’s identity wasn’t going to be that simple. There was so much else for Donovan to consider:

" How would center Patric Young handle playing without his best friend and roommate?

" How do you defend while using the four-guard lineup, especially against a team that has a powerful front court, like Kentucky with Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones?

" How do you avoid becoming predictable offensively when there are four guards and forward Erik Murphy – who at 6-10 is UF’s best 3-point shooter (43.1 percent) – on the floor?

" And, perhaps most importantly, how do the players respond mentally to the challenge of having to do it all during the final weeks of the regular season and into the post-season?

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Florida hoping for help from Larson

February, 24, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Replacing Florida forward Will Yeguete, who is out for the rest of the season with a broken bone in his left foot, will have to be a concerted group effort, coach Billy Donovan said Friday.

Some of the burden will fall to Casey Prather, Bradley Beal and Scottie Wilbekin, but the 11th-ranked Gators (22-6, 10-3 SEC) are also going to need a significant contribution from Cody Larson. Based on what the 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman forward/center has done over the past few weeks, Donovan is confident Larson will be able to help on defense.

"He gave us some good quality minutes at Alabama," Donovan said. "I played him on the road at Arkansas when Erik [Murphy] and Patric [Young] were in foul trouble. One thing I have total trust and confidence in is he knows what he’s doing defensively, and he's pretty good, and he'll physically battle and he'll do some things inside."

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Yeguete out with broken foot

February, 21, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's Will Yeguete limped off the court, sat down on the bench, and took the sneaker off his left foot.

He pointed to a spot below his ankle on the outside of his foot for Florida trainer Duke Werner to examine. Moments later, he hobbled off into the locker room -- for what may be the last time this season.

The 6-foot-7, 222-pound reserve forward suffered a broken bone in his foot and is out indefinitely, according to team spokesperson Denver Parlor. It's a sobering development that dulled the 11th-ranked Gators' 63-47 victory over Auburn in front of 10,150 at the O'Connell Center Tuesday night. Yeguete had just returned from missing one game (Alabama) because of a concussion he suffered against Tennessee on Feb. 11.

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Gators a mess in frontcourt

February, 13, 2012
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[+] EnlargeWill Yeguete
Kim Klement/US PresswireThe absence of sophomore Will Yeguete has become a major issue for Florida.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan said Saturday night that the Gators were not a hardened team because they haven't gone through much adversity.

Looks like the Gators are packing a season's worth in the next week.

Florida will be without forward Will Yeguete (concussion) and guard Mike Rosario (hip) and forward Cody Larson (illness) will be limited for Tuesday's game at Alabama, and Donovan said Yeguete also will be out for Saturday's game at Arkansas and he is unsure when Yeguete will be able to return.

That leaves the Gators severely shorthanded in the frontcourt, and it will force Donovan to use smaller lineups and play guard/forward Casey Prather and guards Bradley Beal and Scottie Wilbekin at power forward. Donovan will only have two days to get those three to understand the different defensive responsibilities in the press and zone, figure out where they're supposed to provide help defense, and get them to understand their roles on offense.

"Dire is probably a pretty good word," Donovan. "I’m not saying our team is not impacted by Will not being able to play, but that’s the hand we’re dealt. How do we play? How do we compete? What kind of presence and disposition do we carry? How unified and connected? All those things are much, much more important because you can play really, really hard and really, really well and be undermanned and still fall short."

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan said earlier this week he wasn't concerned that his team would have trouble bouncing back from Tuesday's 20-point loss at Kentucky.

He probably is now.

The eighth-ranked Gators (19-6, 7-3 Southeastern Conference) struggled on Saturday against Tennessee (13-12, 5-5). Florida had trouble defensively at the 3-point line and inside, turned the ball over way too much and looked listless throughout much of the first half.

The Gators also struggled from long range for the second consecutive game. UF went 11-for-30 against the Vols after going 6-for-27 against Kentucky.

The result was the Gators' first back-to-back losses in nearly two years.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Kenny Boynton, Bradley Beal and Erving Walker combined to make nine 3-pointers to help the 12th-ranked Gators roll past over-matched Mississippi Valley State 82-54 at the O'Connell Center on Monday night.

Boynton went 3-for-6 from 3-point range -- and had the worst night of the three. Beal made 3-of-5 and Walker made 3-of-4. The rest of the team went 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

Walker led all scorers with 19 points. Boynton added 16 and Beal had 13.

The Gators (9-2) play host to state rival Florida State on Thursday night.

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