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November 18, 2013

HOOPS: Hill sidelined with severe ankle injury in Gators win

GAINESVILLE -- No. 14 Florida downed Southern 67-53 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, but it was a UF player who scarily went down that was prevailing storyline Monday night.

Florida’s freshman phenom Kasey Hill injured his left ankle with 18:04 remaining in the second half, screaming loudly as he crashed to the floor on an aggressive drive to the basket.

The point guard, who writhed in pain after rolling his ankle to a near 90-degree angle, could miss -- at minimum -- a month of action with a severe ankle sprain, coach Billy Donovan announced afterwards.

“It’s one of those sprains where it’s certainly a longer healing process and when you try to rush guys back too soon it normally complicates things,” Donovan said. “So right now I think in talking to the doctor and talking to our trainer, the minimum right now is we’re looking at a month before we can consider getting him back on the floor.”

Hill will undergo X-rays Tuesday.

BZZY2fNIYAAalRw.jpg-large(Courtesy @GatorNicole)

The freshman point guard left the game with eight points, three assists and a steal. The former five-star recruit again flashed his sublime finishing ability -- especially in transition -- scoring all eight of his points in Florida’s dominant first half (35-19).

But the Gators, already shorthanded with multiple suspensions including senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin, appeared shell-shocked after the injury, and so did a stunned and silent O’Dome crowd. 

Southern -- a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season -- actually outscored the Gators 34-32 in the second half, as Florida was lost on offense without a true point guard and played lazy defensively.

Shooting guards Michael Frazier and DeVon Walker both took turns handling the ball, as did forward Dorian Finney-Smith.

According to Donovan, Florida will utilize a combination of Walker, Frazier and even Finney-Smith in a point-forward role for the foreseeable future. 

“The hardest part for me is it really eliminates a real opportunity to get creative on offense because you really have to shorten up the play calls because for a guy like DeVon and Michael Frazier to know the 2, and the 3 and the point, their head would explode,” Donovan said. It's not fair to them. So there's some concepts and some things we can get into, we can run, we do and execute that puts them in a position they know exactly what is going on. We may have to add some things and make some different adjustments and because of the injuries we might be looking to play a little bigger.”

Donovan confirmed Wilbekin remains suspended and will not play Thursday against Middle Tennessee State (7:30 p.m., Sun Sports).

VIDEO: Donovan and senior center Patric Young talk Hill's injury. (Note: I apologize for the grainy Blair Witch project-esque footage. A TV light soiled the shot a bit. Apologies.)




Rutgers transfer guard Eli Carter played 10 minutes Monday night, but the hobbled junior appears destined for a medical redshirt with his broken leg still not fully-healed. Carter visibly limped up and down the court, unable to plant his leg with any force. … Donovan also announced sophomore guard Dillion Graham will miss the remainder of the season with bone spurs in both hips. “He’s having a very difficult time sleeping. He can’t lie on his side. Really was a decision that he decided to make with his family,” Donovan said. “There are options. That was the option they wanted to take. Whatever we can do to help him in that situation, we will. What he’s going to end up doing probably in the next week or so is probably get some kind of MRI from the doctors and try to figure it out. I think it’s a pretty complicated surgery and it’s a very, very long recovery (four months).”


Florida out-rebounded Southern 43-29, including a 18-9 advantage on the offensive glass. … Young finished with a season-high 12 points. Senior forward Casey Prather again filled up the stat sheet: 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. … Frazier was 3-of-7 from 3-point range, while the rest of the team shot a combined 3-for-13. … The Gators tallied 19 points off 12 turnovers and 16 second chance points. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Appreciative of administration’s support

GAINESVILLE -- Embroiled in swirling negativity as Florida suffers through its worst season since 1979, coach Will Muschamp received a public vote of confidence from UF’s administration last week.

In Muschamp’s two media appearances since athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen said they were "1000 percent" behind the embattled coach, Muschamp acknowledged his gratitude in Foley and Dr. Machen for “seeing the big picture” and “willing to stand up for what’s right.” 

“I’m very appreciative of Jeremy and Dr. Machen. Thank goodness I have two guys that see the big picture and understand where we’re headed with the program, where we were, in a two-year period what we’ve accomplished and understand the circumstances we’re in right now. And more than anything, where we’re headed. They’re in the day-to-day operation, so it’s very rewarding to have a strong athletic director and a strong president that’s willing to stand up and fight for what’s right. And I appreciate that very much.”

-- Muschamp after Florida’s demoralizing 19-14 defeat to No. 11 South Carolina. 

 “It says a lot about Jeremy and Dr. Machen from a standpoint of seeing where we were three years ago and understanding, making good decision within our program to see the day-to-day operation and understand the steps you made in year two and why we are where we are right now. And nobody’s happy with that. Absolutely nobody is happy. The expectation level here is to win championships, and we haven’t done it. But I think it’s seeing the big picture, too, and understanding where we are with the program and feeling good, not necessarily where we are right now, but understanding why we are where we are and where it’s headed. We’ve got a bunch of good young players in this program, a bunch of good kids in this program. We’re recruiting extremely well. Things are heading in the right direction, it’s just been a frustrating time for us this season.”

-- Muschamp on Monday during his weekly press conference.

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Muschamp clarifies fans comment

GAINESVILLE -- Florida dropped a hard-fought slugfest to South Carolina on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C. and an exasperated Will Muschamp criticized a portion of Florida’s fan base, saying some “need to get a grip.” 

On Monday, Muschamp slightly amended his comments, softening his tone while still censuring “a small percentage” of a fuming Gator Nation.

Florida (4-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) has dropped five-straight for the first time since 1979 -- UF’s last losing season.

“We have great fans here,” Muschamp said. “It’s a small percentage. It’s just frustrating for me. Anybody that knows me, I care about the kids. It’s just frustrating for me. I’m fine with it. That’s part of the profession. But for our kids it’s frustrating. They’re working extremely hard, and that’s who I hurt for. We have great fans. I’m talking to a small percentage of our fans.”

Florida’s 19-14 loss to No. 10 South Carolina was another bold ‘L’ in the win/loss column, but UF displayed tremendous resiliency playing with its third-string quarterback and a depleted offensive line. 

During Saturday’s postgame press conference, Florida’s coach was pressed to elaborate on his team’s fight despite so much adversity.

Muschamp’s fiery sound bite -- to the chagrin of many Florida fans -- went viral almost immediately.

“It’s not excuses. It’s real. It really is,” Muschamp said of the impact of UF’s serious injury situation. “You can say what you want to say and write whatever the hell you want to write, but it’s real. It’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for that locker room. To hell with me, I worry about the kids. These kids fought their butts off. There’s a lot of negativity out there, and some of our fans needs to get a grip. They really do. We have a bunch of kids in that locker room fighting their butt off. You can criticize me all you want. I’m great with that. They pay me enough money to deal with it, but those kids don’t. They really don’t. They fought their butts off, and they continue to fight and play hard. Nobody has ever questioned their efforts. I’m just extremely proud of them and of the resolve and the fight and coming together like Florida Gators do.”

Florida hosts Georgia Southern this Saturday at 2 p.m. (PPV),

VIDEO: Here's Muschamp clarifying his recent comments, as well as previewing GSU's triple option, discussing South Carolina's game-changing play (Shon Carson's 58-yard run) and more. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Brunch Buffet: South Carolina Rewind

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Will Muschamp will meet with the media shortly to preview Georgia Southern, update UF's quarterback situation and more.

But in case you missed all the content from Columbia this weekend here's a bunch of links and one awesome GIF. 



(courtesy sbnation.com) 

A postive spin on Florida's 19-14 loss to South Carolina...

"COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Florida is mired in its worst losing streak since its 0-10-1 season in 1979, but despite another disheartening defeat -- its fifth-straight -- the mood following UF’s 19-14 loss to No. 10 South Carolina on Saturday night was surprisingly optimistic.

Positive. Prideful. 

The Gators -- decimated by injuries and with a coaching staff fighting all sorts of swirling negativity -- rallied together and nearly pulled off a major upset on the road.

Florida (4-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) isn’t resigned to silver linings; it’s simply embracing them.

“They fought their butts off, and they continue to fight and play hard. Nobody has ever questioned their efforts,” coach Will Muschamp said. “I’m just extremely proud of them and of the resolve and the fight and coming together like Florida Gators do. Extremely proud of them. … The bottom line is winning, and we didn’t do it. We did not get the job done, so that’s on me. We’ll go back and continue to work hard and get these last two. I’m looking forward to that.”

A resilient team down to its third-string quarterback and a make-shift and reshuffled offensive line rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns against one of the top front-seven’s in college football. UF’s defense -- much-maligned in recent weeks -- frustrated USC’s duel-threat quarterback Connor Shaw, while limiting star tailback Mike Davis to a season-low 54 yards on 13 carries.

The Gators displayed toughness, grit and effort.

Despite so many odds, they didn’t quit. 

“That was the intensity of the whole week. We were gonna run the ball, play smash-mouth football, play Florida football,” left tackle Max Garcia said. “We didn’t come out with a win but I think we showed people that we’re physical, we’re still physical, we’re still Florida. ...”


* Florida Gators have sound gameplan but still fall short to USC

* A notebook with nuggets on Skyler Mornhinweg's first-career start, Marcus Roberson's suspension and Jadeveon Clowney's injury. 

* Gator Grades

* Video of Muschamp defends his team and slams some of UF's fan base, as well as the media 

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