Florida’s back court question marks have become a major, major problem.
Kasey Hill is out with an ankle injury. Eli Carter will reportedly be redshirting this season. Scottie Wilbekin missed the final five minutes of last night’s game after injuring his ankle. It’s unclear how long Hill and Wilbekin will be out of commission.
That leaves Billy Donovan without a ball-handler for the time-being, which wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t have a loaded schedule over the course of the next two weeks. Florida plays Kansas next Tuesday. The Tuesday after than they get Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic. Those aren’t two teams that you want to play without a point guard available.
The good news, however, is that it looks like one of his missing big men could be back soon. Chris Walker is dealing with an eligibility issue, but on this morning’s 3-point shot, Andy Katz addressed his eligibility:
Walker apparently has one half-credit left to earn his degree and be eligible for the Gators. According to a source, he could potentially get that by December 10th. If he does, then there’s a chance that he could play in the Jimmy V Classic. … He’s be academically eligible, and the Gators would have to make sure over that weekend that he’s NCAA eligible. If it doesn’t happen that fast, he’d still be allowed to practice.
At full strength, Florida has a chance to be scary good. Imagine this lineup: Wilbekin, Hill, Casey Prather, Patric Young and Walker with Michael Frazier, Will Yeguete and Dorian Finney-Smith coming off the bench.
That group is a legitimate national title contender.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.
LSU football and Leonard Fournette are off to a strong start this fall, but the beginning of October also means that college hoops is right around the corner. If you’re a Tigers basketball fan, you also have plenty to be excited about on the hardwood this season with the arrival of a loaded freshman class headlined by forward Ben Simmons.
While the versatile Simmons has solidified a spot in the starting lineup for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Johnny Jones uses the rest of his talented freshmen. In a story from Sheldon Mickles of the New Orleans Advocate, he looks into some potential LSU starting lineups.
Freshman guard Antonio Blakeney, a McDonald’s All-American with Simmons, is also expected to start, but does another talented freshman guard, Brandon Sampson get a shot to start? And what of Arizona transfer Craig Victor when he’s eligible to play in December?
Mickles believes the early favorite for starting lineup is guards Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Blakeney, Simmons and center Darcy Malone. When Victor returns, Mickles said Victor could push Simmons into the “center” position, which would be a matchup nightmare on the opposition because Simmons would be very tough for many college centers to defend.
Sampson also gets a mention from Mickles of having the potential to start down the line. Overall, a good problem to have for Jones and he’ll have to experiment to see which lineups are giving him the most. Having a productive starting five is nice, but I’m sure Jones would love to find the five players he wants to close with.