Southern v Florida

Florida guard continues to work towards full recovery from leg injury

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After winning 36 games, running the table in the SEC and reaching the Final Four, the Florida Gators are faced with the task of accounting for the graduation of three of their top four scorers from 2013-14. Point guard Scottie Wilbekin, forward Casey Prather and center Patric Young (and foward Will Yeguete) are all gone, leaving junior Michael Frazier II (12.4 ppg) as the team’s leading returning scorer.

One of the players expected to step forward in 2014-15 is guard Eli Carter, who began his college career at Rutgers and suffered a broken leg late in his sophomore season. Florida head coach Billy Donovan hoped to have Carter at some point in 2013-14, but the guard’s slow recovery resulted in the decision to redshirt him.

Having that time to recuperate means that Carter will be ready to go when practice for the 2014-15 season begins, right? Not exactly, with Donovan stating at an Atlanta Gator Club meeting that Carter still has some work to do in order to reach the level he played at prior to suffering the injury.

“Right now, we’re trying to get his leg stronger,” Donovan said according to Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun. “It was a really difficult injury. It’s fully healed, but there is some dysfunction there. We’re hoping we can get that back. We don’t know right now whether he can be an everyday guy at practice. That’s the biggest question mark.”

Frazier and point guard Kasey Hill, who backed up Wilbekin at the point, are expected to lead the way on the perimeter for the reigning SEC champions and there are other options as well. Freshmen Chris Chiozza and Brandone Francis are both talented players capable of helping Florida, and the same goes for Carter. Carter averaged double figures in each of his two seasons at Rutgers, scoring 14.9 ppg as a sophomore, and his ability to score is something the Gators will need given the personnel losses mentioned above.

But Carter’s ability to help Florida is limited if he isn’t playing at full strength. And with that being the case, it’ll be interesting to see how Donovan handles Carter’s practice reps and playing time in early-season games if the leg continues to be an issue.

Utah State denies transfer David Collette a release

David Collette Goodluck Okonoboh
AP Photo
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Utah State has denied former forward David Collette a release, saying that his decision to leave the program two days before the start of the season left them without an adequate way to replace last season’s second-leading scorer and was unduly influenced by tampering from other coaching staffs.

“I think there were a lot of factors in play that, unfortunately, have become a trend in college basketball of schools poaching other schools’ players,” head coach Tim Duryea said in a Nov. 11th release announcing the transfer. “I don’t feel good and don’t like how things transpired.”

But that’s not how Collette, who averaged 12.8 points as a redshirt freshman, said things went down. He says he left the team because he and Duryea did not get along. Duryea was a longtime assistant for former head coach Stew Morrill.

The allegations Collette has made range from worrisome to embarrassingly petty. He told Yahoo! Sports and ESPN that the team was told not to tell anyone about a fight in practice, that the school immediately pulled all his athletic aid and that they went as far as to change his measurements on the team site from 6-foot-10, 235 pounds to 6-foot-8, 220 pounds.

Now trying to keep a practice fight off the media’s radar isn’t a huge issue; they happen more than you think and are a bigger deal as a headline than in the locker room. And if Collette is no longer on the team, he is no longer doing the work required to get that aid. Nothing wrong with that, either.

But changing what he’s listed at on the team site? Refusing to release, which prohibits him from being recruited by other coaching staffs and will force him to pay his own way at his new school for two semesters?

Bitter, petty and unnecessary.

This story is now a headline on three of the biggest sports websites. Pretty soon Jay Bilas will be railing against it on twitter, and probably on a broadcast, too; Utah State plays Duke next.

This is going to be a wave of negative publicity for a Utah State program that A) doesn’t make many national headlines, and B) Might actually be pretty good this year.

Is that really worth getting revenge on some college sophomore that doesn’t like playing for you?

Labissiere scores 16 as top-ranked Kentucky beats BU 82-62

Eric Johnson, Isaiah Briscoe
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Freshman center Skal Labissiere scored 16 points to lead top-ranked Kentucky past Boston University 82-62 on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (5-0) used a big second half to overcome Boston U. in their season debut at No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll. One day after taking over the top spot, Kentucky struggled to put away the Terriers early but outscored them 42-29 in the second half.

Labissiere finished 7 of 13 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds. Tyler Ulis added 15 points, and Alex Poythress had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his second straight double-double.

Jamal Murray scored 12 points and Isaiah Briscoe had 11. Kentucky, which spent all of last season ranked No. 1, scored 58 points in the paint and closed with a 22-9 run.

Boston University (2-3) got 15 points from John Papale. Nathan Dieudonne and Kyle Foreman scored 11 apiece.

The Wildcats raced out to a 10-0 lead 3 minutes into the game, but Boston University settled down after making its first basket and kept the score close in the first half by hitting five shots from long range.

The Terriers led 34-33 with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the last six points of the period to regain the lead.

Labissiere paced the Wildcats with 11 points in the first half, followed by Murray with 10.


Kentucky: The Wildcats improved to 216-28 as the top-ranked team in the country and have won 61 of their last 64 games while holding the top spot. Under coach John Calipari, Kentucky is 63-5 as the top-ranked team in the AP poll.

Boston University: The Terriers fell to 0-5 against Kentucky. … Boston University missed its first four shots and didn’t score its first basket until the 16:55 mark of the first half. … Dieudonne, a graduate of Louisville Trinity, was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2012.


Kentucky plays Friday against South Florida at the Hoophall Miami Invitational.

Boston University plays Saturday at Binghamton.