ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
77°
Thunderstorms
H 95° L 75°
  • cloudy-day Created with Sketch.
    77°
    Current Conditions
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    86°
    Afternoon
    Thunderstorms. H 95° L 75°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day Created with Sketch.
    78°
    Evening
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 86° L 74°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

With Florida struggling going into SEC tournament, coach wants more ‘fire and passion’

The alarm is going off for Florida coach Billy Donovan, but he isn’t sure if his players hear it.

The Gators are stuck in a three-week slump, going 3-3 during that span, and bear little resemblance to the team they were during the first three months of the season. They have fallen from No. 2 to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and are coming off an exasperating loss to Kentucky in which they went scoreless for the final 7:36.

After one lackluster minute to open that game, Donovan screamed for a timeout and tried to jump-start his players.

It’s the worst possible time to slip. Florida starts the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday against Georgia or LSU (1 p.m., ESPNU) with the NCAA tournament the following week.

“I’m disappointed, to be honest with you, in our team’s fire,” Donovan said. “I don’t see it. I don’t see it. … With the way we’re playing right now, I don’t like our fire. I don’t like our intensity right now.

“I’m trying to help our team become great. I’m not interested in just going through the motions. We’re not playing with fire and passion right now. Our perseverance or resiliency needs to get better. They’ve got to enjoy the struggle a lot more.”

The Gators, now 24-6, opened the season with seven straight wins and were 18-2 in early February. The majority of those first 18 victories were blowouts.

Over the past three weeks, even the wins frustrated Donovan. He was displeased with most of his team after the Gators came back late in the second half to beat Alabama 64-52 at the O’Connell Center, and after a 26-point win over Vanderbilt last week he questioned his players’ hunger.

“We should do a better job just coming out and being excited and being ready to play,” forward Will Yeguete said. “We’ve been missing that.

“I feel like you should always be ready to go, no matter what. We haven’t had that fire the past couple games. Hopefully we can get it back soon.”

The Gators will make the NCAA tournament regardless of what happens at Bridgestone Arena this week, but their seeding and viability hinge on how quickly they make corrections. Previously a leading candidate for a No. 1 seed, Florida now is a No. 3 seed in projections by ESPN and CBS.

One constant has been defense, which is the biggest reason UF has a shot at the national title. Even in the past six games, the Gators are holding opponents to 38.1 percent field-goal shooting.

Injuries have been part of the problem, and the Gators are still transitioning back to their original lineup. The three main subs — Yeguete, Michael Frazier and Casey Prather — missed time due to various issues, though the starting five has been together most of the year.

Florida’s ball movement also has been troublesome. Donovan wants the team to reach at least 17 assists, something it hasn’t done in the past six games. The Gators had more turnovers than assists in recent games against Missouri, Alabama and Kentucky.

Rebounding is another issue. UF held an advantage in that area just twice in the past 10 games.

“That’s a major problem,” Donovan said. “Having a fire and a passion — to me that’s it: on the glass. When you’re doing that, when you’re hitting and going and chasing balls … in these situations, you have to be willing to do things that are very, very uncomfortable and people don’t get a lot of enjoyment from doing.”

Read More
VIEW COMMENTS

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a Florida teen who is missing and considered to be in danger. >> Watch the news report here Victoria Stites, of Palm Bay, is 19, but her mental capacity is lower than her age, Palm Bay police say. She is possibly traveling to Jamaica, New York, with a man she met on Facebook. >> Read more trending news She was last seen Saturday leaving her Palm Bay home, north of Vero Beach, wearing a green shirt and black jeans, and carrying a purple duffel bag.  She has blonde/brown hair and brown eyes. She is about 5-foot-7 and weighs 135 to 140 pounds.  Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call 1-800-423-TIPS. 
  • Almost everywhere I went this weekend and ran into someone I knew, there was one question asked by just about everyone – whether it was at the pool, on the golf course, or grilling burgers in my back yard – “Will the Republicans get their health care bill through the Senate this week?” Let’s take a look at what the GOP has to do to get that bill approved. 1. A test for the Senate Majority Leader.  The hamburgers had barely touched the grill on Sunday evening, when my father – a veteran of many legislative showdowns on Capitol Hill – asked whether I thought the GOP could get the health bill approved in the Senate by the end of the week. My answer is much like where we were with the House bill at the beginning of May – I can see the GOP passing this by the narrowest of margins, and I can also envision the bill getting delayed because of concerns among GOP Senators.  Remember, the House had a couple of false starts before finally mustering a majority for the Republican health plan. Senate Republicans face key week as more lawmakers waver in support for health-care bill — devcode88 (@devcode88) June 26, 2017 2. President Trump warming in the bullpen.  Just like he did when he cajoled reluctant Republicans in the House to get on board with a GOP health care plan, the White House has already had the President reaching out to GOP conservatives who aren’t quite sure they really want to vote for this overhaul of the Obama health law. Over the weekend, the President again made clear – that despite concerns over individual provisions in the bill, and how it might change health insurance options in the individual market – this is better than the current Obamacare situation. Expect to hear that argument a lot more this week from the White House. I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2017 3. There really is no role for Democrats. Just like in 2009 and 2010 as the Obama health law made its way through the House and Senate – when Republicans did not have the votes to leave their imprint on the bill – Democrats are simply on the sidelines, as they lob verbal grenades at the GOP on an hourly basis. It’s important to remember this week that Republicans have almost no margin for error, as just three GOP Senators could tip the balance of this debate if they refuse to back the Republican health bill. All Democrats can do is watch from the sidelines, and hope they have an impact. We got the Senate bill text on Thursday. This bill would overhaul our entire health care system but the GOP wants to vote next Thursday! — Dick Durbin (@DickDurbin) June 25, 2017 4. Have you read the bill? Why not? The GOP health bill is just 142 pages long – but even if you sit down to read it, I guarantee that most of you won’t be able to figure out what it says. Why? Well, that’s because it is basically an amendment to the underlying Obama health law, and if you don’t have that language on hand, you won’t really know what the Republicans are trying to change, and how. The original Affordable Care Act was well over 2,000 pages long – and the reason that this GOP bill is so short is simple – it just amends the Obama health law – this is not “repeal and replace” by any measure. Because it leaves most of Obamacare in place. https://t.co/8lnG9385JU — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) June 25, 2017 5. The GOP Senators who might vote ‘No.’ If I had to list a group of Republicans to watch, my morning line would look this way: I WILL SAY THIS SENATOR IS OPPOSED TO THE BILL 1) Rand Paul – most likely to vote “No” at this point 2) Dean Heller – Nevada Senator said on Friday that there must be changes POSSIBLE NO VOTE 3) Mike Lee – said this weekend he thinks the bill doesn’t significantly reform health care. But I still wonder if he gets to “Yes” with some late changes. 4) Susan Collins – CBO report is important, plus Planned Parenthood. Still not sure she votes “No.” 5) Lisa Murkowski – Planned Parenthood & bill details important. Important one to watch. CONSERVATIVES ON THE FENCE 6) Ted Cruz – Yes, I know Cruz has said he has concerns. So did the Freedom Caucus in the House, but most of them ended up voting for the bill. 7) Ron Johnson – Same thought for the Wisconsin Republican as Cruz. Can’t see either of them being the 51st vote against the bill. 8) Bill Cassidy – No matter what he said to Jimmy Kimmel, I still think it is unlikely that Cassidy votes against the Senate bill. But we’ll see. Latest whip count on #SenateHealthCareBill: 45 yea 55 nay @GOP opposed: Paul, Cruz, Lee, Heller, Johnson, Cassidy, Collins. — KOMO Newsradio (@komonewsradio) June 25, 2017 Clearly, the GOP leadership – and the White House – has some legislative arm twisting to do in coming days. If this plan stays on track, it could well be voted through on Thursday or Friday.  And if that happens, I wouldn’t rule out the GOP thinking about bringing it right to the floor of the House for a final vote. But we’ll see if we actually get that far.  Stay tuned.  It will be a very interesting week in the halls of Congress.  
  • Andy Szasz was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2012 and beat the initial cancer after receiving treatment, but after falling ill with pneumonia in December, he was rushed to the hospital and placed into an induced coma the next day when he stopped breathing. >> Read more trending news Doctors at Southampton General Hospital in England estimated he would be in a coma for a week, but they were surprised when he woke up after just four days with the help of his dog, Teddy, a 4-year-old schnauzer-poodle mix. While waiting for him to come out of a coma, Andy’s wife, Estelle, received special permission to bring Teddy into the hospital. Pet visits usually take place outside the hospital, but hospital staff made an exception for Teddy. Inside Edition reported that Andy woke up from his coma as soon as Teddy entered the hospital room and started barking. “Ted is such a remarkable little dog in many ways,” Andy said. “He’s clever, loving, loyal, funny and a right little character.” >> Related: Mastiff named Martha crowned world’s ugliest dog Fiona Hall, senior sister for the general intensive care unit, told the Daily Mail that having pets around during recovery can be incredibly beneficial for patients, their friends and families, and hospital staff. “It can be motivational, aiding recovery, and can provide a pleasant and familiar experience in what can otherwise prove to be a long, uncomfortable journey in hospital,” she said. For helping his owner wake up, Teddy was recognized by the U.K.’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the same organization Andy adopted him from, under a special animal category. He was the only animal to win an award under the newly-created category.  >> Related: Dog saves family with nine children from house fire
  • An overweight passenger on a Spirit Airlines flights from Las Vegas to Denver said he was embarrassed and humiliated by the airline when it took away one of two seats he had booked in order to fly more comfortably. >> Read more trending news Jose Cordova told Denver 7 that he bought two seats on both his original flight to Vegas and for the return trip because of his size. 'I am a big person and I know one seat wouldn't fit for me, and to be comfortable, I wanted to have two seats,' Cordova said.  'You don't want to overhang on someone else's lap, so you want to make sure you have that extra seat without bothering anybody.'  Cordova said his flight to Vegas was fine, but Spirit overbooked his return flight and took one of his seats without asking. >> Related: United Airlines changes policy after man dragged from flight “They stole one of his seats. They sold it out from under him,” Denver 7 quoted one of Cordova’s friend Scott Tenorio as saying. Spirit apologized to Cordova and said it was refunding the cost of his flights. It also said it was investigating what happened.
  • A 14-year-old girl fell 25 feet from a gondola ride at Six Flags Amusement Park in Queensbury, New York, Saturday night as a group of park guests gathered under her to help break her fall. >> Read more trending news The “Sky Ride” was stopped at the park about 55 miles north of Albany when the accident happened, according to CBS News. The teenager was on the ride with a child relative when she fell from the two-person car, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.  The ride was stopped after the operator was told of a rider in distress, CBS reported. The video shows the girl somehow slipped through the safety bar, which briefly held her aloft while she dangled in the air. The teen from Delaware struck a tree before landing in the crowd, which had gathered to catch her. She was treated at the park, then taken to an area hospital. >> Related: Girl, 11, dies after falling out of ride at water park Park officials said the ride was working properly. “There does not appear to be any malfunction of the ride, but we have closed the attraction until the a thorough review can be completed,” USA Today reported park officials said in a statement. Another person was injured as he was trying to help catch the girl.

The Latest News Videos