Billy Donovan’s struggling Gators arrive in a Bahamas with no time to relax

November 26, 2014 - Finding Carter

GAINESVILLE — UF manager Billy Donovan arrived in a Bahamas on Monday, though it competence as good have been Birmingham or Baton Rouge.

Leave a sun, silt and review vital to everybody else. The hard-driving Donovan has no time to relax.

This season, Donovan faces one of his toughest coaching assignments during his 19 years during UF. This week could be a prolonged one for him and his undermanned, fresh Gators.

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The No. 18 Gators (2-1) have dual harmed starters, 6 healthy grant players and face a three-day, three-game gauntlet during this week’s Battle 4 Atlantis.

UF opens play during 9:30 p.m. Wednesday opposite Georgetown, followed by a Thanksgiving Day date with possibly Wisconsin or UAB. On Friday, UCLA and UNC are among a Gators’ probable foes.

“Before Dec. 1st, we’re going to know a lot about a team,” Donovan said.

Finding answers a season’s initial dual weeks has not been easy or enjoyable.

Forward Dorian Finney-Smith, expected team’s tip all-around player, has missed dual games, including a Nov. 17 detriment to Miami, with hairline fractures in dual fingers of his non-shooting (left) hand. Guard Eli Carter, a team’s most-versatile scorer, sprained his feet Thursday and missed Friday’s 61-56 overtime win opposite Louisiana-Monroe.

Both players are controversial for Wednesday. Carter sat out Tuesday’s practice, while Finney-Smith participated with a heavily wrapped left hand.

“I don’t know what or how many we can get out of him,” Donovan pronounced Monday of Finney-Smith.

At this indicate of a season, Donovan wonders what to design from many of his players.

Senior walk-on Jacob Kurtz has been a most-dependable Gator. The 6-foot-6 brazen has 12 points, 21 rebounds and 5 assists a past dual games as a purpose player.

Sophomore Chris Walker returned from a three-game cessation final Friday. While improved, a 6-foot-10 former McDonald’s All-American has a prolonged approach to go to turn a diversion changer, many reduction fit in.

“He and [Jon] Horford did not duty during all good together on a court,” Donovan said. “We’ve worked on that given Friday to try to get those guys a small some-more comfortable.”

Even maestro sharpened ensure Michael Frazier II, a usually returning starter from final season’s Final Four team, has not met Donovan’s expectations.

Frazier, one of a nation’s tip 3-point shooters, has stretched his diversion off a leap and softened his defense. Four of his 6 margin goals during a 69-67 detriment to Miami were layups, though did skip his final 5 shots.

Frazier had 16 of his game-high 21 points during a second half opposite Louisiana-Monroe. But with UF heading 51-45, he missed a layup early in a 35-second time that led to a ULM 3-pointer. With a diversion tied 51-51, Frazier committed a turnover with 4 seconds remaining.

“How many of a actor is he unequivocally opposite from 4 months ago?” Donovan said. “It’s not a whole lot. Some guys have left, we know. . . . You can see Michael Frazier was a very, really good actor since of a guys around him.”

Sophomore indicate ensure Kasey Hill was a pivotal haven final season, though has struggled as a starter.

A 2013 McDonald’s All-American out of Montverde Academy, Hill is sharpened 3 of 24 and has 13 assists contra 8 turnovers. Hill is 1 of 9 from a fringe and struggling to finish during a rim.

“He’s got to be means to make those plays,” Donovan said. “He’s got to be means to put a round in a basket.”

A week in a Bahamas competence be only a change of view Hill and a Gators need.

Regardless of their record, Donovan can't error his players’ attitude.

“We’re still nowhere where we need to be,” he said. “But these guys know they don’t have it all figured out and they’re perplexing to work and get better, and to me that was encouraging.”

egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

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