With Alex Tyus Returning, Florida Is Overstocked for a Change

Jim FolsomContributorMay 12, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY - MARCH 18:  Alex Tyus #23 of the Florida Gators looks to pass the ball against the BYU Cougars during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men�s basketball tournament at Ford Center on March 18, 2010 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. BYU won 99-92 in double overtime.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Alex Tyus pulled his name out of the NBA draft at the deadline and will return to the Florida Gators for his senior season. This is good news for the Gators, but not all of them.

Someone will have to go.

The Gators, who have been plagued by a thin bench for the last three seasons after losing most of their back-to-back championship team all at once, all of a sudden are over the limit for scholarship players.

Last year, their main problem was too many minutes for guys like Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton, and Chandler Parsons. This year it might be keeping everybody happy with the minutes they get.

Ray Shipman has transferred. Usually this is bad news. But this year it may be a blessing.

The Gators entire starting five is back for this season. Vernon Macklin, Parsons, and now Tyus in the frontcourt, with Walker and Boynton in the backcourt. For the first time since the championship years, no freshmen will start for UF.

Forward/center Kenny Kadji has received a medical redshirt from the NCAA and will be back next year following back surgery. He says he is pain-free for the first time since his sophomore year in high school. He looks to get minutes next year.

Eric Murphy is back for his sophomore season too. He was getting better as the season went on last year. He will be looking to contribute.

So that's seven guys returning who will be looking for major minutes. Now let's look at the recruiting class coming in.

Patric Young is a stud. Rivals has him as a five-star power forward. The Gators think so much of him they told Stacey Poole Jr., the son of former Gator star Stacey Poole Sr., to go ahead and sign with Kentucky.

Something tells me Young will expect to play.

Then there is also Will Yeguette. This guy, according to many, actually outplayed Young in the high school playoffs. He may be a bit more of a project since he hasn't been playing organized basketball for as long as the others, but he may accept a smaller role.

Cody Larson is the biggest player to come out of South Dakota since Mike Miller. He was ticketed for Iowa until the coach was fired. Ohio State also wanted him badly. He'll be looking to contribute.

Casey Prather is another forward who is a big-time athlete. He is a slasher who can handle the rock. He's a Corey Brewer-type player. He's also rated the No. 71 player in the nation. He will get some playing time.

Now it would seem that Adam Allen and Rod Tishman would be the odd men out. Tishman rarely played his freshman year, but from reports was happy at UF and may want to return, even though he has been playing in his native Israel since season's end. The extra game experience could make him a better player and a point guard is something the Gators can really use.

Allen was thought to be done after his second blown-out knee. Apparently, he may not be done yet after all. If he decides to come back, Florida will be two players over the limit.

That is with the addition of Scottie Wilbekin, a point guard who was a junior this past year, but has the credits to graduate early and enroll at UF. He is a local kid from Gainesville who already knows the players from playing pickup games with them.

He was reportedly being heavily recruited by Tennessee and FSU. He was supposed to be one of the higher-rated point guards in the 2011 class. He still must take the SATs and pass through the NCAA Clearinghouse, but he is an excellent student, so that should be no problem.

So who goes?

You would think Allen and Tishman would be the most likely. But how do you tell a guy who has gone through what Allen has gone through that he is no longer wanted? And Tishman plays a position the Gators are a bit thin in. Remove him and you're backup point guard is a kid who was supposed to be playing point guard this year in high school. And not public high school, but church school ball where the competition is not always the stiffest.

Maybe they can get Scottie in on an academic scholarship?

It's either that or hope Allen just can't play at an SEC level and will have to transfer to a smaller school. But this sure is a nicer problem to have than, "Who are we going to get to give us minutes?"

Next year, I suppose a few transfers over playing time will be in order. I guess that's better than looking down the bench for some help and seeing nothing but walk-ons.