Notebook: Florida without Beal, Walker
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
GAINESVILLE — Guards Brad Beal and Erving Walker were a major part of last year’s Elite Eight team but Florida coach Billy Donovan isn’t dwelling on what’s gone.
Beal and Walker were the No. 2 and No. 3 scorers with 14.8 and 12.1 averages. Walker was a senior who is now playing pro ball in Italy. Beal left after one year as an NBA lottery pick to Washington.
“That’s just part of basketball. I think this is a new team with a new identity,” said Donovan, whose team starts preseason workouts on Friday.
He expects this team to take on different traits. One thing that will suffer is that this team won’t be as deep shooting the 3-point shot. Walker and Beal had 132 threes last season.
“I don’t think our guys are going to be sitting around saying, ‘Geez we need Erv to be back,’ or. ‘We need Brad back . . . I’m asking whoever it may be (to take up slack) to be their own guy and provide what we need,” Donovan said.
This is Donovan’s 17th year at Florida. He said at Wednesday’s preseason media event he was surprised how fast it went and said he’s still evolving.
Looking for leadership: Donovan would like to see senior guard Kenny Boynton (15.9 points, 100 assists last season) take on more of a role as a team leader but realizes it’s a role he’ll have to shift in to.
“I’d like to see him be more vocal but at the same time I don’t want to put him in (an uncomfortable situation),” Donovan said.
One player he thinks will take over more a leadership role is forward Erik Murphy (10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds last season). Donovan said that’s a responsibility he actually seems to want to take.
Scholarship no more: Cody Larson is no longer on scholarship. Larson had some legal issues involving an incident outside a St. Augustine bar last year. He remained with the team but Donovan felt like he had “some responsibility issues over the last year.”
Larson also had some legal issues over drugs while in high school and came to UF with … [For more on Notebook: New-look Florida without Beal, Walker, click here.]