Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Florida Gators (Last Year: 26-11, 10-6 in SEC)
2012-13 Projected Depth Chart:
F/C: Patric Young (Jr)
PF: Erik Murphy (Sr)/Will Yeguette (Jr)
G/F: Casey Prather (Jr)/Michael Frazier (Fr)/Devon Walker (Fr)
SG: Mike Rosario (Sr)/Dillon Graham (Fr)
PG: Kenny Boynton (Sr)/Scottie Wilbekin (Jr)/Braxton Ogbueze (Fr)
SG-Bradley Beal, PG-Erving Walker, F/C-Walter Pitchford (transfer-Nebraska), C/F-Cody Larson (transfer)
Florida will once again rely on its talented group of guards to lead the way this season. With expected starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin suspended indefinitely by Billy Donovan for undisclosed reasons, Kenny Boynton will run the point. The three-point gunner has played off the ball most of his college career, so his transition until Wilbekin's return will be vital to the Gators' success.
With Bradley Beal and Erving Walker gone, Mike Rosario will step into a bigger role on the wing. The Rutgers transfer is a pure scorer, but struggled to find his niche last season coming off the bench. Casey Prather brings athleticism and versatility to the starting five, while four freshmen will make up the depth at guard. Braxton Ogbueze is the most highly touted of that group, and his role should be bigger than expected due to Wilbekin's suspension.
Patric Young and Erik Murphy form a solid frontcourt duo. Young is a beast inside, plays with an incredible motor, but is fairly limited on the offensive end. Murphy is an inside/outside threat who can stretch defenses with his three-point shooting.
The frontcourt depth took a major hit with Cody Larson's decision to transfer just prior to the start of the season. That will leave Donovan with only Young and Murphy as Florida's big guys. Will Yeguette and Prather will see some time at the four, but the Gators have used three, and even four-guard, lineups in the past so expect to see a lot of that again this year.
Florida did pick up a couple of key transfers who will tremendously help the frontcourt depth next season. Damontre Harris comes from South Carolina, while athletic forward Dorian Finney-Smith arrives in Gainesville after spending his freshman campaign at Virginia Tech.
Player to Watch: Mike Rosario, SG
The former McDonald's All-American was a volume scorer in his first two seasons at Rutgers, but struggled to earn minutes last year with guys like Beal, Walker, and Boynton ahead of him on the depth chart. Rosario needs to return to his scoring ways now that he figures to see regular minutes.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/14 vs. Wisconsin
11/18 at Middle Tennessee
11/23 vs. UCF
11/29 vs. Marquette
12/5 at Florida State
12/15 at Arizona
12/22 vs.Kansas State
Predicted SEC Finish: 3rd
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