Monday February 4, 2013BasketBlog Notebook: Young's arm, SEC race, Murphy, etc.
Updated: 1:09pm, February 4
Updated: 1:09pm, February 4
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Patric Young grabbed my arm in the post-game locker room Saturday night.
“This is what he did,” Young explained.
In one swooping motion, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound Young raised his arm and viciously dropped it toward mine, stopping -- thankfully -- before making contact.
That, he said, was the motion of the blow he took from Ole Miss forward Reginald Buckner, a pretty stout guy himself at 6-9, 235, and caused Young to double over in pain in the final minutes of the fourth-ranked Gators’ 78-64 defeat of the No. 16 Rebels at the O’Connell Center.
“He hit me really hard,” Young said of a play. "I mean, like, WHAM! I looked at the officials and was like, ‘Did you not even see that?’ They didn’t.”
At first, the sequence looked pretty bad for Young, who last week popped a bursa sac in his elbow and dealt with some temporary discomfort there, too.
Then came the WHAM from Buckner, with Young seemingly favoring his arm as walked to the other end of the court after officials stopped play. Young, though, remained in the game.
“I thought he dislocated it the way he was walking around,” Gators coach Billy Donovan said.
Not to worry.
On Sunday, Young not only was full-go at practice, but was benching 100-pound dumbbells during his lifting session beforehand.
And the way he played against the Rebels -- carding his fourth double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds) of the year against one of the Southeastern Conference’s most physical teams -- he might as well have bench-pressed Buckner, too.
“I thought Patric was great,” said Donovan, who was particularly pleased with Young’s work on the defensive end in boxing out one of the nation’s premier offensive rebounding squads. “It was the best I’ve seen him chase the ball on the backboard in a long, long time.”
The UF coach has said since last year Young should roll out of bed on game day with a double-double.
It took the junior from Jacksonville a couple seasons to come to terms with the energy level and commitment needed daily at practice. He’s improved on his field-goal percentage from 61.8 last year to 63.8 this year, and his defensive awareness is in heightened step with that of his teaammates.
Maybe the next step is improved numbers under the glass.
It's rough down there, but he can take it.
The Gators are 8-0 in the SEC for only the second time in program history, joining the ’07 eventual second national championship team, and have a two-game lead on Ole Miss, Kentucky and Alabama (all of which are 6-2) and three games on Missouri (5-3) in the league standings.
Excuse Donovan for not being too fired up.
Not the first week in February.
“I don’t think it makes a difference,” he said. “We’re not even at the halfway point.”
The back end of the UF conference schedule looms more difficult than the front, starting with Tuesday night’s game at Arkansas (13-8, 4-4), which will mark the halfway point of the conference season.
Given Florida went to Fayetteville last season and won by 30 points -- handing the Razorbacks the worst home defeat in the history of Bud Walton Arena -- the place is going to be jacked up in hostings its first top-five opponent since a visit from Texas in 2009. The Hogs may have lost by 21 last week at South Carolina, but will be a formidable foe at home.
The Gators have managed the role of big favorite with a level-headedness and the proper respect for their opponents. This game, especially on the road, could be the team’s biggest challenge to date.
UF still has 11 SEC games remaining, including two against Kentucky, a second against Arkansas, a road trip to Missouri and home date against Alabama.
“What’s left on our schedule is going to be hard,” Donovan said. “To sit here and talk about a two-game cushion, we’re not going to do that.”
Back on the subject of Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson; the guy has taken 307 shots in 21 games. That’s 14.6 per game. And everyone considers him a gunner -- which he is. So you think that’s a lot? How many shots per game did “Pistol Pete” Maravich, the league’s all-time scoring leader, average per game during his three seasons at LSU? Answer below in “Free Throws” section.
EX-GATOR OF THE WEEK
Need to throw a bone to power forward Marreesee Speights, who was traded from Memphis to Cleveland on Jan. 22. While with the Grizzlies, Speights averaged 6.5 points on 43-percent shooting and 4.7 rebounds over 40 games. In five games with the Cavaliers, his numbers are 15.4 points on 53 percent and 6.8 rebounds. In his fifth game, a 115-110 upset Saturday night of Oklahoma City, Speights had his fourth double-double of the season, with 21 points and 10 rebounds, plus three assists. Nice numbers against the Thunder front line.
CHARTING THE GATORS
Henderson may lead the SEC in 3-point field goals, but Erik Murphy is the league’s best from the arc -- and it’s not even close. Henderson (shown left defending "Murph") had a great game in Gainesville, going 7-for-11 from distance, but Murphy was a deadly 5-for-6 in UF’s big win. The two even had some friendly banter about their back-and-forth bomb-trading. "I might be able to stay with him in a standstill shooting contest, but not running around like that,” Murphy said. “The kid is unbelievable.” Murphy’s numbers are pretty hard to believe, too. Here’s how he stacks up against the best 3-pointer shooters in the league (or how they don’t stack up with him).
Rank Player-Team 3s Made-Attempted Pct.
1 Erik Murphy, UF 43-84 51.2
2 Andre Stringer, LSU 41-99 41.4
3 Kyle Wiltjer, UK 45-110 40.9
4 Elston Turner, A&M 49-130 37.7
5 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, GA 51-139 36.6
6 Marshall Henderson, OM 83-229 36.2
7 Kenny Boynton, UF 46-131 35.1
8 Anthony Hickey, LSU 36-114 31.6
SILLY GATOR PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Loved this book as a little kid and read it to my daughter, too. That's Lyle the Crocodile, but hopefully some of you knew that.
Donovan won’t want to talk about this (and neither will his players), but if the Gators are able to take care of business Tuesday at Arkansas and at home Saturday against Mississippi State, the stakes could be all the higher for Feb. 5 when defending national champion Kentucky comes to town. That’s because UF figures to jump to No. 2 when the polls are released Monday, with Indiana sliding back to No. 1. The Hoosiers, however, are on the road twice this week: at Illinois, then Ohio State. Up in Lexington, where that team is starting to gel, they're buzzing about the Gators being No. 1 when the two teams play. ... Some great perspective from senior guard Mike Rosario on Henderson, who really got some rough treatment in the media last week for his on-court antics (and off-court baggage). “His attitude and the way he acts on the floor, I just feel like that is him being competitive. That’s just him enjoying the moment,” Rosario said. “You can’t look at a guy just off his actions and what he does out there on the floor and say he is a bad person. He actually came up to me after the game and told me, ‘Great job. Keep playing the way you guys are playing. You guys are going to go really far.’ I thought that was good sportsmanship.” Young shared similar words with Henderson. “I told him not to worry about all the stuff people are saying about him,” Young said. “I told him to just keep being himself and he’ll continue to be successful.” ... By beating Ole Miss, UF improved to 3-1 vs. ranked opponents this season (the other wins coming against Wisconsin and Missouri, the loss vs. Arizona). ... As of Sunday night, the Gators had moved from fifth to fourth in RPI, trailing only Duke (1), Miami (2) and Arizona (3). ... Trivia answer: Maravich (right) took 3,166 shots in 83 games during his three seasons (1968-70). That’s 38.1 per game -- nearly three times as many as Henderson -- and averaged 44.2 points for his career. Would have been close to 50 with a 3-point line.