Tag: Patric Young


Dorian Finney-Smith’s resurgence boosts Florida’s offense, bench production

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Dorian Finney-Smith was supposed to be an integral part of Florida’s offense this season. The ex-Virginia Tech addition was highly-pursued when he announced his transfer, and the mix of his shooting touch and size helped conjure visions that Finney-Smith would be the next Gator stretch-4 to propel the offense. However, through the first few months of the season, that promise didn’t materialize — during the month of February, a span of six contests, Finney-Smith missed 18 three-pointers before finally converting one attempt (on February 22nd).

Since that three-point make, which came in a win over Ole Miss, Finney-Smith’s game has been ascendant. The forward made 44 percent of his threes through the SEC tournament, and his ability to stretch a defense with his shooting as well as off the bounce has provided coach Billy Donovan with several offensive options. Florida isn’t known for its size — Patric Young and Will Yeguete are the only other Gators who stand taller than 6-foot-8 — so an effective Finney-Smith not only boosts the team’s scoring, he provides a height infusion. When he is connecting from deep, UF’s halfcourt spacing is much improved, with not only helps Young in the post, but also the Gators’ backcourt on dribble drives.

In the NCAA tournament, Finney-Smith has been the consummate role player; Florida doesn’t often dip into the bench — Kasey Hill and Finney-Smith are essentially the only Gators who see significant minutes — and the forward will need to continue contributing offensively to propel the Gators’ title run. His perimeter attempts haven’t been dropping, but he is making his twos — 56 percent from within the arc — and the ten points Finney-Smith dropped last night against UCLA helped fuel the team’s 1.13 points per possession.

Second-half adjustments result in No. 3 Florida’s 17th straight win

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For much of the first half of Saturday’s game between No. 3 Florida and No. 14 Kentucky the Wildcats held the lead, with Julius Randle scoring ten points and Kentucky shooting 50% from the field. The Wildcats may have led by just three points at the half but it was clear that Billy Donovan would need to make adjustments on the defensive end while getting more efficient offense from his team.

Those changes occurred, with Scottie Wilbekin and Patric Young leading the way, and as a result the Gators left Rupp Arena with a 69-59 victory. The Gators, 23-2 overall and 12-0 in the SEC, have now won 17 straight games.

Defensively the Gators began double-teaming the post on the catch, with a second big man being the one shifting over in most instances. As a result Randle’s looks at the basket became limited, as he attempted just two shots in the second half with all three of his points coming at the foul line. And without that ability to score points in the post much of the offense fell on the shoulders of Andrew Harrison and James Young, who combined to score 22 of Kentucky’s 28 second half points.

But with the absence of offensive balance Kentucky was less effective offensively, and this gave Florida the edge it needed to take control of the game. Wilbekin, Young and Casey Prather combined to score 38 of Florida’s 41 second-half points, with Wilbekin scoring 18 of his 23 points in the game’s final 20 minutes. The senior point guard was excellent in running the show for Florida, making sound decisions whether it involved how to properly use ball screens or making sure the ball kept moving offensively.

As for Prather (24 points, with some key transition baskets getting him going) and Young (ten points) they proved to be too much for Kentucky’s young front court, and as a team Florida outscored Kentucky 34-22 in the paint. In the second half Florida shot 60% from the field and 15-for-17 from the foul line, scoring 1.5 points per possession. The Gators got the job done on both ends of the floor, and as a result they’re now three games ahead of the pack in the SEC.

That’s fine, and winning an SEC title is a goal for Florida. But if anything can be gleaned from their second half performance it’s that the Gators should be considered one of the favorites to win the national title. Syracuse remains undefeated, as does Wichita State, and there are other teams that have a case as well. But given the experience and talent of Donovan’s rotation, there’s little doubt that Florida will be in that discussion.

Chris Walker returns, Patric Young emerges in No. 3 Florida’s win over Mizzou

Missouri v Florida
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The big news of the day for Florida was that stud freshman Chris Walker would be playing his first game as a collegian on Tuesday night.

And he did enough to pique the interest of Florida fans, throwing down a couple of alley-oops while grabbing two boards and blocking two shots in limited minutes off the bench in a 68-58 win for the No. 3 Gators.

It was promising, but the bigger news may actually have been the play of Patric Young, who finished with 13 points and six boards while showing off an array of moves in the post. He scored over both shoulders, he hit jump hooks with both hands, and overall, he looked like a real threat on the block, which adds yet another weapon to Florida’s arsenal.

You see, the strength of this Florida team is their defense. They have a pair of ball-hawking point guards and a slew of big, athletic wings — Casey Prather, Will Yeguete, Dorian Finney-Smith. That versatility allows them to be able to press, run a couple of different zone, and play either straight man-to-man or a switching man-to-man. The athleticism of their front court players allows them to play ball-screens in a number of different ways. And regardless of what defense they’re in, they play it well.

That’s a nightmare scenario for a coach trying to prepare for them and a major reason why the Gators had allowed an averaged of 42.7 points in their last three games entering Tuesday.

But Florida doesn’t have a ton of great scoring options. Prather is a slasher that gets his buckets from five feet and in. Michael Frazier can shoot the cover off the ball. Scottie Wilbekin is one of the more underrated players in the country. Kasey Hill can create off the bounce. Those are all nice pieces, but there is nothing there that scares you.

And Young’s low post game isn’t going to scare many people, especially considering this performance came against a Missouri team that isn’t exactly known for their interior.

But that’s missing the point: knowing that Young will be able to take advantage of a mismatch inside makes Florida that much more dangerous offensively. Florida doesn’t have a go-to guy offensively, but they also don’t have a weakness. They have a roster full of players that know, understand and execute their roles. That’s not a bad thing.