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Feb 23, 2016; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Mike White watches the action during the first half of a basketball game against the Vanderbilt Commodores at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Mike White, John Egbunu are Ready for the Season Opener

Head coach Mike White and the Florida Gators men’s basketball team open up their season tomorrow with an exhibition at home (sort of) against the Eckerd College Tritons in Jacksonville at 7 p.m. Mike White and John Egbunu spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon and offered up some thoughts coming into the game.

Mike White on Kasey Hill’s status: 

“Kasey Hill, didn’t practice yesterday, he won’t practice today, he won’t play tomorrow night. I guess things change, but that’s the plan right now. He has some hamstring soreness, Duke wants to hold him out, so that’s where we’re at with Kasey.”

Mike White about getting the season started: 

“Excited about one last tune up before playing, not the real game, but playing against another team. So, I think our guys are chomping at the bit just to be able to play someone else, even though it’s still fairly early and we’re playing an early exhibition game, our guys are excited.”

Mike White on Eckerd College and the game as a whole:

“This is a really well-coached team. A program that’s doing some really positive things, have a bunch returning from a really good team as well. Despite all that, these exhibition games are more about tuning your own team up and continuing to improve, at the same time evaluating, where you’re at as a team or a program. That’s where I’m most anxious, just seeing where we’re at, how far we have to go.”

Mike White speaks to the media on Tuesday, October 25. Photo taken by Jake Winderman.
Mike White speaks to the media on Tuesday, October 25. Photo taken by Jake Winderman.

Mike White on who will back-up the starting point guard:

“Probably KeVaughn Allen, he’s got some point guard reps this fall. I think he feels a little more comfortable with it now than he did a year ago. Eric Hester hasn’t gotten many reps, but he’s a guy we’ll look at there as well.”

Mike White on Eric Hester’s status:

“He’s back, he’s not 100%, but close to it. He’s practiced recently, had a pretty good practice yesterday. He had a knee issue; I don’t know the exact injury. I just know his knee hurt and he was told to sit out.”

Mike White on deciding who will be in the starting lineups moving forward:

“I’m open to a different starting lineup every game. I know our guys aren’t as into that, but we base everything off of production. Realistically, I bet we probably have nine guys that are fighting for five spots.”

Mike White on playing multiple big men at the same time:

“I know Kevarrius is a big proponent of that and John Egbunu likes playing with Kevarrius as well. That was brought up yesterday in practice. Kevarrius has made a big jump with his game and that’s something that we’re open to, just as we are to playing the two points, the two speed guys that are Chiozza and Hill. It’s just depending upon their production, how well they’re playing, what kind of flow we’re in, time to score and the opponent of course. This team’s got an opportunity to play a few different ways.”

Mike White on finally getting to play in Jacksonville for the first time:

“It’s exciting to have an opportunity to play in a facility we’re going to open up the season in and have an opportunity to play in front of some fans that don’t normally have the chance to get over here to the ODome.”

Mike White on John Egbunu’s unselfishness:

“ John’s very, very unselfish, he wants to have as great of an individual season as possible to help this team. He wants to try and get 20 and 10 every night if possible.”

https://twitter.com/GatorsStudents/status/790323427655634944

Mike White on who the team’s best three-point shooters are:

“KeVaughn Allen is our best shooter, high clip, all fall. Devin Robinson probably shooting it right in the same neighborhood as KeVaughn. He’s shot it really well. He went through a little dip there for a couple of weeks, but the last few days, Devin has really shot the ball well, better than anyone the last few days. Canyon Barry is a good shooter, Justin Leon has shot a really high percentage in practice. Knock on wood; I hope we keep shooting the ball the way we are now. I don’t know that that’s going to be our strength, but I do anticipate shooting the ball better than we did a year ago.”

John Egbunu on tomorrow night’s matchup:

“Tomorrow is going to be a great test for us. We’re able to see where we are as a team, where our chemistry is at and how things look.”

John Egbunu on Kasey Hill:

“He’s been working out all summer, but definitely he has to heal up. It’s around his hamstring or something, something like that. So he has to heal it up for a little bit instead of trying to play while it’s not 100%.”

John Egbunu on Chris Chiozza:

“It’s real important having someone like that because he kind of understands what he needs to do for the team. He’s a leader himself and he understands what pace and intensity the team needs to play at.”

John Egbunu on what the team needs to improve:

“We need to improve on our defense a little bit, coach has stressed on that. Offensively, we’ve been shooting the ball at a really, really high percentage, so we hope to continue doing that, as well as adding on to the improved defense.”

John Egbunu on the team’s improved three-point shooting:

“Personally, I feel like we’re shooting it a lot better than we did last year. Something we hope to continue into the regular season. We added a few more pieces like Canyon Barry, everybody else on the team has been shooting the ball a lot better than they have last year.”

John Egbunu on getting used to the arena in Jacksonville:

“I think it’s important, getting used to the rims, getting used to the courts and all of that. I think it’s important, it’s going to help us because we don’t have a home court right now.”

John Egbunu on what scheme the team will be playing defensively:

“We want to play man, but coach has put a little zone. He just put that as a decoy, we don’t know if we’re ever going to play zone ever. He really likes the man-on-man defense.”

Tomorrow night’s game tips off at 7 p.m. inside Jacksonville Memorial Arena. The game will not be broadcast on radio or television, but live updates will be tweeted from the @JakeWinderman and @ESPNGainesville Twitter accounts.

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