Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Counts on Nelson to Improve

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

UF Counts on Nelson to Improve

Article excerpt

GAINESVILLE -- He has played only 21 minutes in the last two games, and his assist-to-turnover ratio is severely out of shape.

But know this about Brett Nelson: If the Gators are to reach expectations this season, Nelson eventually will become a key factor.

"Brett just hasn't been able to get totally comfortable out there," said Florida coach Billy Donovan. "He's still figuring things out."

By this time, many figured Nelson, a McDonald's All-American and one of the nation's top recruits last year, would have a firm handle on the starting point guard spot for the Gators. After 17 games this season, he's no closer to gaining a starting spot than he was when he stepped on campus in August.

Nelson, who recruiting analysts said was the best high school prospect from the state of West Virginia since Jerry West, is still learning what to do and when to do it. He's averaging 6.4 points per game, but has 43 assists and 56 turnovers.

And Teddy Dupay, another former McDonald's All-American who is more of a two guard, still has the starting spot at the point.

"Brett is a guy who really cares a great deal," Donovan said. "He has a tremendous amount of pride. At some point, you don't want to take away his creativity. But at the other point, if he's putting the team in a situation where we're just turning [the ball] over too much, it becomes a problem. There's no doubt in my mind he's going to improve and get better, because of his commitment to the game and his team."

LOUD AND PROUD -- Tony Harris was caught by ESPN's cameras with his hand around his neck when Dupay missed two free throws that could've sealed a victory over Tennessee last week.

The Vols wound up winning in double overtime, and Harris, UT's star guard who fouled out in regulation, was reacting to the grief he heard much of the night from the student section at the O'Connell Center. ESPN The Magazine named the O'Connell Center the toughest place to play in the nation in its preseason issue, and Harris agreed. …

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