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October 25, 2013
Finney-Smith expected to take big role
With Patric Young receiving an apparent pass for a senior year victory tour and Mike Rosario all out of eligibility, Florida coach Billy Donovan needs a new target to play public hardball with.
Enter Dorian Finney-Smith.
After watching last year's season from the bench as part of the NCAA's mandatory sit-out rule after transferring from Virginia Tech, the 6-foot-8. 212-pound forward will have to become a major part of Florida's basketball team this season.
"Toughness, defense, rebounds, just try to do all the little things it takes to win," Finney-Smith said when asked what he brings. "Whatever it takes, if it takes scoring I'll do that; I'll just do whatever it takes to win."
The scoring might be even more necessary than he might have originally expected. During his freshman season with the Hokies, Finney-Smith wasn't looked at much as a primary scorer. He averaged 6.3 points playing an average of 29 minutes per game. He only took about six shots per game and was more known for his rebounding (seven per game).
On a Florida team that lost its three leading scorers to graduation, he'll need to do a little bit of everything.
Young recently called Finney-Smith a guard playing forward, and both players and Donovan have pointed to his ability to handle the ball and make plays you're not used to seeing a player of his size make.
"There are things with Dorian that you can slide him back to the point a little bit and play with him back there as kind of a point forward. You can do a lot of different things with him," Donovan said. "I don't want to put pressure on him scoring, because I don't think that's who he is, but I do think he can facilitate, he can put it on the floor, he can pass and he really can rebound."
That quote came from Florida's team media day, but recently Donovan has taken a different tone with Finney-Smith. Known for not being shy about pushing the buttons of certain players publicly, Donovan has been open with his thoughts on the sophomore.
"He's just been OK," Donovan said. "He's got to get better. His attitude has been great. … There has been a lot more thrown on his plate. I don't want to say that he hasn't handled that well, but I do think he's got to get better. He's got to get better for our team and for himself."
Secret scrimmage: By now, it's not a very well-kept secret, but the Gators will head to Valdosta, Ga., Saturday to take part in a scrimmage against Georgia Tech that will be completely closed to the public. Donovan has said he is not permitted by NCAA rules to comment on the scrimmage but did say he's excited to see his team play another team.
Florida is expected to only have eight or nine players available for the scrimmage. The Gators are dealing with a myriad of injuries. Most notable, Will Yeguete (knee), Dillon Graham (sprained ankle) and Finney-Smith (ankle) are unlikely to play. The Gators will try to get some limited work out of guard transfer Eli Carter (leg).