When Florida big man Will Yeguete went down with a season ending injury, many thought that the Gators would be unable to sufficiently replace his absence. While it’s hard to compare two players, and say that one player replaces another one effectively, the way that Casey Prather stepped up against Kentucky was big time.
Prather is faced with the task of trying to replace Yeguete’s production and that’s a tall task. Before he went down Yeguete was the Gators’ best interior defender and one of their leading rebounders so his loss was a big blow to their frontcourt. Prather did a solid job in his first game in for Yeguete against Mississippi State with 12 points and five rebounds but his performance against Kentucky really stood out.
Against the Wildcats bigger front line, one that featured shot-blocker Nerlens Noel and seven-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, his job was much more difficult but he succeeded anyways. Prather finished Florida’s blowout over Big Blue scoring 12 points, grabbing three rebounds, blocking two shots, and dishing out two assists. The stat line may not scream a star but his productivity was more than evident to everyone watching. There’s not much of a dropoff from Yeguete to Prather and that’s a major plus for Florida.
As the season progresses and the stakes get higher in the final weeks of the season Prather will have to continue the same type of play that allowed him to stand out in the Kentucky game.The main thing that Prather gained from the game the other night was a major confidence boost and that will only help him moving forward.
Florida coach Billy Donovan challenged Prather to step up when Yeguete went down and so far Prather has answered the coaches call.
David LaRose is a College Basketball writer for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the USBWA. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.