In three seasons as a Florida Gator, forward Will Yeguete has averaged 3.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Those meager numbers may lead to outsiders undervaluing his impact on the Gators, especially when it comes to his impact on the defensive end.
Following Florida’s Elite 8 loss to Michigan the 6-7 forward underwent another surgical procedure on his right knee, and the hope now is that Yeguete will be back to full strength and able to contribute as the Gators look to not only contend in the SEC but also for a national title.
His latest surgery is called an arthroscopic debridement on his right knee and requires four months of rehab. Yeguete’s knee is a big deal because he can do the little things that go unnoticed but make the difference in Elite Eight games — like being the middle guy in the pressure defense and causing clutch turnovers, like limiting teams to one shot with his rebounding in games where a basket can mean a win.
Florida won’t necessarily lack for depth inside this winter, with fellow senior Patric Young also returning to school and two talented transfers in Dorian Finney-Smith (from Virginia Tech) and Damontre Harris (South Carolina) joining the ranks.
There’s also the potential addition of freshman phenom Chris Walker, who is still a question mark academically but has the talent to make an immediate impact if he gets the job done in the classroom. Billy Donovan having players of this caliber at his disposal could result in some people taking Yeguete’s contributions for granted, but that would be a mistake.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers Yeguete led the team in both defensive rebounding percentage (21.9%) and steal percentage (3.5%) last season, leading the way for a team that ranked third nationally in defensive efficiency.
Florida’s reached the Elite 8 three consecutive seasons, and with the amount of talent on campus there’s hope that Donovan’s bunch will be able to take the next step in 2013-14. And if Will Yeguete is healthy, Florida is more than capable of accomplishing that goal.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.