If David Lee has a breakout season, credit Grant Hill with an
assist. When the Orlando Magic forward underwent surgery on his
left ankle last March, that opened up space on the Day Planner of
Hill's shooting coach, Chip Engelland, for a 6'9" collegiate
banger with a jerry-built jumper. Twice a week for two months in
the off-season, Lee drove the two hours from Gainesville to
Orlando for 90-minute sessions with Engelland, who overhauled the
Gators forward's shot and virtually doubled his range, to 17
"For the first two weeks all I did was [stationary] one-handed
shooting," says Lee, who in addition to blocking 48 shots and
leading the team with 6.8 rebounds a game as the Gators' center
last season, shot 64.8% from the field, mostly from close range.
Lee learned a lot from Engelland but didn't burn a lot of
calories. "I figured these would be high-intensity workouts, but
I never broke a sweat," Lee says.
For that Lee went home to St. Louis and hooked up with another
coach, Hammer--his legal name--who put Lee on a regimen of
plyometrics and weight training, and also revamped his diet. Lee
went from 235 pounds and 12% body fat to 253 pounds and 8% body
fat. (Gators coach Billy Donovan was so impressed that he has
based training-table breakfasts and dinners on Hammer's diet
The biggest benefit the Gators may receive from Lee's off-season
may be his increased strength because Florida's front line was
often outmuscled last season. To counter that weakness, Christian
Drejer, a 6'9" sophomore who missed 23 games last season because
of an ankle injury, has added 18 pounds of muscle, and Chris
Richard, a 6'8", 230-pound freshman who was Florida's Mr.
Basketball in 2002-03, arrives to add power and aggressiveness.
The Gators are eager to erase the memory of a blistering 68-46
loss to Michigan State in an NCAA second-round game last March.
It was their third straight first-weekend exit. This season, they
hope, they've been rebuilt to last. --Kelli Anderson
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO POSSESSION GAME Lee is tough inside and hopes a summer spent working on his shot will improve his touch.
2002-03 RECORD: 25-8 (12-4, 2nd in SEC East)
TOURNAMENT: Lost to Michigan State in 2nd round
POS. PLAYER HT. CL. KEY STAT
SF Christian Drejer 6'9" Soph. 2.4 apg
PF David Lee 6'9" Jr. 64.8 FG%
C Bonell Colas 6'9" Sr. 4.8 ppg
SG Matt Walsh 6'6" Soph. 43.2 3FG%
PG Anthony Roberson 6'1" Soph. 12.3 ppg
an opposing coach's view
"Florida has so many offensive weapons, and if you don't make them
play tough half-court defense it leaves them free to run and
shoot.... ANTHONY ROBERSON can take anybody to the basket
anytime, so you can't gamble and give him one-on-one plays....
You want to get up on MATT WALSH and force him to do something he
isn't comfortable with, like put it on the floor.... You've got
to make DAVID LEE step out and prove he can shoot the ball.... If
CHRISTIAN DREJER is as good as people think he is, he can help
make up for the loss of Matt Bonner.... The biggest jump for guys
is usually between their first and second years--if Roberson and
Walsh make that leap, they could be scary."
Three-pointers (on conference-best 37.2% shooting from beyond the
arc) made by the Gators over the last four seasons, most in the