Right smack in the middle of college football season, the Gator men’s and women’s basketball teams held their Media Days Wednesday as both teams prepare to start practices for the upcoming season.
Gator head coach Billy Donovan, who appeared on WRUF’s Sportscene program on Wednesday, said he is very close to signing a contract extension that will keep him on as Florida’s coach.
Donovan also talked about his team, coming off an Elite Eight appearance a year ago. Of course, everyone wants to know how he is going to play five very good back court players and give them quality minutes; he said he could play some four guard looks but added that rebounding could then be an issue when going to that lineup.
Joining holdovers Scottie Wilbekin, Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker in the backcourt is transfer Mike Rosario along with freshman Brad Beal.
Donovan said the key to the season might be the team chemistry and how it meshes together with so many new faces and players who have to step up with new roles, especially in the front court where Florida lost three top seniors.
The Gator women, coached by Amanda Butler, have all five starters back from a team that went to the WNIT a year ago but the expectations this year are much bigger. Five seniors return, and all of them played significantly a year ago.
Perhaps Florida’s biggest concern is in the frontcourt where senior Azania Stewart and junior Jennifer George return. They’ll need rebounding help, not a strength a year ago, and they hope to get help from returning 6’2” sophomore Deaundra Young. Florida will not get help there from 6’4” Viktorija Dimaite; Butler said she will redshirt this year as she recovers from an injury.