With four seniors graduating, and a brand new starting five set to take over next season, change is certainly on the horizon for Florida basketball. The team’s most effective weapon throughout the 2013-2014 season was undoubtedly their senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin. He averaged 13.1 points per game to go with 3.6 assists per game, good enough to notch SEC player of the year honors. The point guard position is always imperative to the success of any one of Billy Donovan’s teams, and will be again in 2014-2015. So without further adieu, here is a top-to-bottom preview of the Gators’ point guard position for the upcoming season.
Kasey Hill (Sophomore) – Barring an injury, Hill is a sure bet to replace Scottie Wilbekin as the Gators’ starting point guard next season, as noted in my projected starting five article. He impressed as a freshman, bringing the hustle and energy the team needed off the bench. Next year, he will bring an entirely new element to the starting position, as he excels in precision passing and transition offense, whereas Wilbekin was more of a scoring threat. Ball movement is going to be essential next season, as Florida’s roster appears to be more geared toward a perimeter offensive game than they were a season ago. I expect Hill to be instrumental in these efforts. Look for Hill to average around eight points per game, along with six to eight assists per game in 2014-2015.
Chris Chiozza (Freshman) – Billy Donovan has had success in the past recruiting undersized point guards, and he is hoping for much of the same with Chiozza. At just 5’11” and 160 pounds, his game appears to be a lot bigger than his physical stature. He attended White Station High School in Memphis, Tennessee and was heavily recruited by several additional SEC schools, including Tennessee and Auburn. Chiozza has been described as having quick hands and being an extremely aggressive defender. He certainly fits the mold to be an effective Florida point guard, but will need to wait in line behind Kasey Hill for minutes. Look for Chiozza to be the first point guard off the bench next season for the Gators, where he can prove his worth on the court.
Eli Carter (Senior) – Carter transferred to Florida his junior year from Rutgers and failed to find much of a role with so much talent in front of him. While he is a shooting guard at heart, he did play some point during his time at Rutgers and will be counted on to do so at some point during the upcoming season for Florida. Also, there is heavy competition at the shooting guard position, so his best chance at playing extensively will be by showing his versatility and willingness to play multiple positions. I definitely expect to see Carter far more often in 2014-2015 than we did last season.
There is not nearly as much depth at point guard for Florida as there has been in years past, but this will allow for more clear-cut roles rather than having logjam at the position. This is a small group, but one with plenty of talent, and they should be key for the Gators attack on both sides of the ball next season.