Florida Gators: Dillon Graham

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan's decision to suspend PG Scottie Wilbekin indefinitely means the job of directing the Gators' offense will fall to senior Kenny Boynton.

Boynton has run the point in spurts through the past three seasons, mainly in relief of starting PG Erving Walker, who graduated as the school's all-time assist leader. Boynton, who is on pace to become the school's all-time leading scorer, is the Gators' top man defender, so his role there won't change.

The bigger issue for Donovan is finding someone to replace the 6-foot-2 Wilbekin in the starting lineup for Friday's season opener against Georgetown and to relieve Boynton when he's on the bench. Donovan could slide 6-3 Mike Rosario into the shooting guard spot to go along with 6-9 C Patric Young, 6-10 F Erik Murphy and 6-7 F Will Yeguete.

Or Donovan could go with 6-6 freshman Michael Frazier, who scored 21 points in UF's exhibition victory over Nebraska-Kearney. Even if Rosario starts, Wilbekin's suspension will mean more playing time for Frazier and two other freshmen: 6-4 Dillon Graham and 6-0 Braxton Ogbueze. The Gators cannot use 6-6 G/F Casey Prather on Friday because he is out with a concussion.

"This throws a wrench," Donovan said. "We've got to do some things in practice to make some adjustments going into this game.

"The biggest thing for me as a coach is how do I get these guys to understand what they're doing because there's going to be a lot of different lineups on the floor."

Donovan has a track record of successfully juggling lineups. He got the Gators to the Elite Eight last season after losing Yeguete -- the Gators' top post defender and key cog in their press -- to a broken foot in February.

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 signed wing prospect DeVon Walker (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven H.S.) on Friday, quickly filling the scholarship of Bradley Beal, who departs for the NBA.

"[Beal] had an amazing, amazing impact on the program and the team, so I wouldn't mind copying him," Walker said just after signing his letter of intent during a ceremony at his school.

As he assisted Beal in assessing his draft stock, UF coach Billy Donovan made a late push for Walker, a well-rounded swingman who averaged 23.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a senior.

"He came a little bit harder towards the end when it got closer to signing," Walker said. "Coach Donovan said Brad was in the process of deciding to go to the league. But before Brad had even decided, [Donovan] had already told me I had a scholarship and everything was good. So I don't really think it came down to Brad leaving."

Walker, who has grown to 6-foot-6 1/2, 187 pounds and can play shooting guard and small forward, was at one point committed to Central Florida. He chose the Gators over Alabama, Florida State and Connecticut.

"It came down to Alabama and Florida, and I really loved both programs," Walker said. "Coach [Anthony] Grant at Alabama, he has something special going on. I feel that their program is one of the best programs in the country, and Florida is also.

"My decision came down to just being closer to home and being able to have my family come to a lot of games, being comfortable at UF's campus, because I've been up there the most times."

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The AggreGator: Basketball rankings

January, 24, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- We've got a whole lot of rankin' going on. We'll start with future Gators before leaping back to the present tense for the current Florida squad.

Class of 2012 updated ESPNU 100
Florida only has one player in our top 100, point guard Braxton Ogbueze, who fell from No. 35 to No. 46 in our latest rankings. The big man on the board is Florida's top target, power forward Anthony Bennett, who is ranked No. 6 in the nation.

Class Rankings: Arizona on top, Gators in the mix (Insider)
Florida checks in at No. 25 with Ogbueze and a pair of shooting guards from in-state in Michael Frazier and Dillon Graham. Look for a big surge if Billy D gets that big man he's after.

Bilas Index: Kentucky claims No. 1 (Insider)
ESPN Insider Jay Bilas has Week 6 of the Bilas Index, ranking the top 68 college basketball teams in the country. This week, he hasn't changed his thoughts on the Gators too much, noting how UF is having success without a whole lot of size.

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The AggreGator: Basketball season

January, 13, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With football season sadly in the rear-view mirror, it's time to devote more attention to hoops. No. 19 Florida tries to break its road losing skein at South Carolina on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET (you can watch the game here on ESPN3). Here are some Gator-related links from ESPN to get you in the mood.

King: Top sixth men thrive coming off the bench
In the past, being in the starting lineup was considered a status symbol among players. But these days, substituting is becoming chic as top players from some of the nation's best programs make their mark off the bench. Florida's Mike Rosario makes Jason King's top 10.

Player Rankings: How top prospects stack up in PER (Insider)
Matt Giles looks at how Chad Ford’s top 10 prospects in the 2012 NBA draft stack up in John Hollinger's college basketball player power rankings. Florida freshman guard Bradley Beal ranks among the SEC's elite.

Power Rankings: Syracuse, Kentucky, North Carolina lead the way
Florida drops one spot to No. 15.

(Read full post)

UF basketball signs three 

December, 5, 2011
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's deepest position just got deeper on Monday when coach Billy Donovan announced the signing of three guards for the 2012-13 season.

Michael Frazier (6-foot-4, 180 pounds), Dillon Graham (6-4, 175) and Braxton Ogbueze (6-1, 185) will join a backcourt that will bring back at least four players in Mike Rosario, Kenny Boynton, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather. Bradley Beal could potentially leave for the NBA after this season.

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Newly hired Florida head coach Jim McElwain calls in to SEC Now to discuss his observations of the team.
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