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Freshman's growth excites UF
Nick Calathes just misses a triple double as he continues to impress his coach.
By BRYAN JONES, Times Correspondent
Published December 6, 2007
GAINESVILLE - Less than two weeks have gone by, but Florida coach Billy Donovan said Nick Calathes is a far cry from the player he benched in the first half against Florida State.
The freshman guard scored 20 and flirted with a triple double, finishing just two rebounds and one assist shy, as the Gators (9-1) routed Florida A&M 91-52 Wednesday at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.
"I was really happy for Nick and really impressed with Nick," Donovan said. "I think we saw Nick 10 or 12 days ago out of control, bad shots, low percentage, turnovers, trying to make spectacular plays and really exhausting our team in a lot of ways. Now all of a sudden, he's playing with the right tempo.
"To a fan, an alley-oop pass is spectacular. To me, a two-handed chest pass is spectacular with him."
His bid to record the second triple double in Gators history (Corey Brewer, 2005, vs. Jacksonville) ended when Donovan pulled him with 4:52 left.
"It'll happen sooner or later," Calathes said. "I still have a lot more chances."
Donovan said he had no idea Calathes was so close to a triple double, but said it likely wouldn't have impacted his decision.
"It's hard to grab two more rebounds and get one more assist, and I'm not going to keep him in there to have him do that," Donovan said. "We're too young to play for Nick Calathes to get a triple double."
After the Rattlers took a 5-2 lead early, the Gators responded with a 24-0 run, holding FAMU scoreless for almost nine minutes.
Florida started the second half on a 17-0 run as the Rattlers (2-6) took more than six minutes to put a point on the board.
Though Donovan was impressed with Florida's performance on defense, he was reluctant to give his team too much praise because of its great size advantage over the Rattlers, whose tallest players are 6-foot-6.
Freshman forward Adam Allen had 19 points for UF, and center Marreese Speights, the former Admiral Farragut standout, had 10 points and 10 rebounds.