(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)
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As the Florida Gators men’s basketball team approaches the tipoff of Todd Golden’s inaugural season at the helm of the program, the team gave Gator Nation a glimpse into this season’s team at the Orange and Blue scrimmage.
The Blue team, led by transfer Will Richard, defeated the White team, led by Colin Castleton and Kowacie Reeves, 34-29. Additionally, the team held a three-point contest, dunk contest, and half-court contest, where Alex Klatsky, Niels Lane, and Jack May won, respectively.
After the scrimmage, Golden met with the media to recap the night’s festivities. Here are the main takeaways:
- Golden opened up his press conference by giving credit to the marketing staff and athletic department for putting the event together. He said events like Tuesday’s are tough due to trying to find the balance between staying competitive and keeping it light and easy. “I think it was really neat. Fun for all the players and staff to just see how excited people are on campus,” he said.
- Early on in the scrimmage, both teams struggled with turnover issues. However, Golden is unphased by the mistakes due to the circumstances of the scrimmage. “I don’t think we’re going to evaluate much from tonight other than we were able to clear the day with no injuries,” he said.
- The unawarded MVP on Tuesday night was guard Will Richard, who hit a trio of three’s and finished with a game-high 11 points to lead the Blue team to the win. “He plays really hard, and it sounds kind of simple and not super complicated,” Golden explained.” He always finds himself around the ball offensively, defensively and in transition. He runs really hard.” He added that he’s unselfish with the ball while being a strong shooter.
- According to Golden, Florida’s starting five is slowly coming together with two spots locked up and a third nearly set. Kyle Lofton, a graduate transfer from St. Bonaventure, will start at guard with Colin Castleton returning as one of the two forwards. With Richard’s play, Golden said he has a chance to start on Monday. It should be noted that Tuesday’s scrimmage teams were not based on starters versus bench but rather keeping the teams as even as possible. Overall, Golden said the one of the team’s strengths is depth.
- Kowacie Reeves has shown good bounce and shooting throughout camp, but the biggest notice on Tuesday night was a flashy dunk and a new hair style. Reeves recently chopped off the blonde dreads for a buzz cut with pink hearts. “He’s had a really good fall, though,” Golden said. “Played really well a couple weeks ago in our scrimmage. He’s still a young player, but he’s making strides.” A noticeable improvement has been his defensive rebounding, according to Golden. As for the hair, his head coach approves. “He’s a very unique, talented young man. If he wants to express himself that way, it’s all good with me as long as he plays hard.”
- Florida recently played Jacksonville University in a scrimmage and ultimately won, according to Golden. He did note that the team did not play well the first four minutes of the game, but exceeded expectations the final 36 minutes. He also added that Lofton, who’s been battling an injury in camp, played about 30 minutes in the scrimmage.
- As the Gators are less than a week away from the season-opener, Golden discussed the strides the team has made since the fall began. “We made some big strides in terms of just really getting a good understanding holistically within our program of what we’re trying to be,” he said. He added that the team is understanding their individual roles and playing with an identity.
— Chris Will (@ChrisWill_TV) November 1, 2022
— Zack Weiss (@ZackaryWeiss_) November 2, 2022