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.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.