Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

In the UF men's basketball team's first exhibition game, the sophomore class struggled to shine in the shadow of a group of freshmen.

All five of the first-year scholarship players scored in double figures during the Gators' victory against Flagler College.

Of the sophomores however, only Marreese Speights, who tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds, impressed, as forwards Dan Werner and Jonathan Mitchell combined to shoot 0-7 from the field.

When UF hosts Lynn tonight at 7 in its second exhibition game, Coach Billy Donovan will keep a close eye on his elder players.

Donovan noted that Werner, who dished out seven assists, played well despite his poor shooting performance.

"He was pretty physical up front and taking care of the ball," Donovan said.

Mitchell did not draw a similar defense.

"He was that one guy out there that didn't look comfortable and looked unsure of himself," he said. "Jonathan has worked really hard, and he's a great kid. You would hope that he would have come out there being a sophomore with a level of confidence. But for whatever reason, it kind of snowballed on him. We're going to need him to step up and play better for us."

Donovan said that Mitchell's problems are probably mental. The talented forward has struggled producing in college after arriving at UF with high expectations.

Donovan said he still expects great things from Mitchell, whose first-game issues weren't confined to one aspect of the match.

"I think Jonathan's issues were he not only didn't make shots, it was some turnovers, it was defense, it was rebounding," he said. "There were some issues that he's going to need to get cleaned up to help us as we move forward."

Tonight will be the Gators' first-ever meeting with Lynn, a Division II program coming off an exhibition win against Division I Bethune-Cookman.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

The Gators' probable starting five is the same as game one, which featured Speights and Werner in the frontcourt, highlighted by a three-guard setup of freshmen Jai Lucas, Nick Calathes and junior Walter Hodge in the backcourt.

Calathes, who in his first outing fell just two assists shy of becoming the second player in school history to record a triple double, said the team is energized following its first win.

"I just try to bring my energy to the court like I've been doing in practice," Calathes said. "It showed out there, and we played well as a team. Let's just hope we can continue doing that."

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.