Gators overhaul offense, seek new course
they installed during the summer in favor of a scheme with strictly designed offensive sets.
“More structure, more calls … just more rules,” White said. “This is who’s going to ball-screen when and where. When this guy has the ball, this is what we’re doing. You can see it; a lot of times it’s, ‘Here’s our call; this is what we’re running right now.’”
Unsurprisingly, the Gators continue to adjust to the changes. Yet there also have been some encouraging signs, including last Saturday’s 76-62 loss at unbeaten Butler.
Following the one-sided defeat, UF’s coach caught many off guard when he showered praise on the Gators’ performance on offense. On Friday, White doubled down on those comments.
“Sometimes in basketball it’s about whether it goes in or not,” White said. “We missed a lot of really good looks against a really good defense. We haven’t made it offensively. We’re not there.
“But we did some stuff and executed offensively, ball moved a little bit … got to step up and make a shot.”
The Gators are shooting just 29.1% from 3-point range, 301st of 350 teams nationally.
A season after setting a UF freshman record with 81 3s, Noah Locke is hitting 33.3% of his 3-point attempts. Touted by White as the most talented offensive player on the Gators’ roster, McDonald’s AllAmerican Tre Mann is 4-of-19 shooting (21.1%) from beyond the arc.
Highly touted graduate transfer Blackshear, a 6-foot-11 post player, is 6-of-23 shooting from 3-point range. At Butler he was 1-of-6 from long range but made his other four field-goal attempts.
Blackshear’s shot selection is evidence of his versatility but also a sign even the team’s most experienced player continues to search for his role within the Gators’ attack.
“He’s good at a lot,” White said. “He’s not strictly a low-post, banging presence; he’s not strictly a 3-point shooter. Perhaps his best asset is his ability to pass the ball, to play through him, to catch it, to make decisions, to move it.
“So is he in a great, great rhythm? No. We’re still trying to help him in that regard.”
Blackshear, a native of Orlando, said he is not concerned about where he finds his shot or where he fits in. He is confident the pieces eventually will fall into place for the Gators.
“I don’t think there’s a ceiling on what we can become,” Blackshear said. “I think we’ve got to work every day and it’s not something we can talk about or envision without being able to work every day. If we do that, we’ll get to where we want to go.”
The Gators have encountered their share of obstacles this season. Then again, four teams have reached No. 1 only to lose. Meanwhile, North Carolina and Seton Hall — preseason top-12 teams like UF — each has four losses, too.
Heading into the final weeks before SEC play opens Jan. 4 at home against Alabama, White remains realistic — but also optimistic — about the Gators.
“At the end of the day, let’s get better today,” White said. “That’s all we can do and we all know we’re not a great basketball team. We’re just not. We’re decent, competitive. We got a chance to get better but we gotta get better.
“How good? Who knows?”
UF coach Mike White’s Gators entered the season ranked No. 6, but have since fallen out of the national rankings and are searching for answers.