The loss of Humphrey adds to the list of adversities that are mounting for the Gators. Corey Brewer injured his ankle in the Tennessee loss and told Florida's head coach Billy Donovan that his ankle did not feel good enough to start the Vanderbilt game is still wearing a boot on his injured foot.
Donovan's take on the news of losing his starting guard was one of regret for Humphrey's considering how well he was playing this season.
"I really feel bad for Lee, he's a good kid, he is very conscientious in the way he lives his life he's such a perfect kid in a lot of ways," said Donovan. "To see him having the type of year he was having, everybody was worried about the adversity he was going to have to face was when he didn't make shots. Who knew the adversity he was going to have to face was riding a bike?"
Humphrey considered redshirting his freshman year and ended up playing more than he thought he would because of his play on the defensive side of the court. The lost of Humphrey is bigger than Gator fans can imagine not because of the scoring abilities of Humphrey, but also because he defended the opponent's best guard every game.
"I really felt like Lee Humphrey was our best defender, he gets a lot of credit for his perimeter shooting. There is no question whether its been Diaz (University of Miami), Derrick Byars, or Shan Foster of Vanderbilt, and C.J. Watson from Tennessee -- whoever we played against that was an explosive scorer," says Donovan. "Lee is our most consistent, most disciplined, best defender. He understands schemes, scouting reports, and how we are guarding, and you can rest assurred he is going to follow the minute detail of everything he has to do so forget about the shooting part of it -- we just lost our best defender."
Florida has few options that they can use in replacing Humphrey when they take on Ole Miss this Tuesday night on the road. They can go to either David Huertas or Walter Hodge, who started his first collegiate game last Saturday vs. Vanderbilt. Corey Brewer is also an option, but his minutes are likely to still be somewhat limited, given that his ankle is still not 100%.
"Our third option will be to start big but with Ole Miss' quickness it will be hard to go big," said Coach Donovan.
Florida has not been a healthy team since the Georgia game with David Huertas and Al Horford suffering strip throat and Brewer's ankle injury in the Tennessee game. Injuries are not new to Billy Donovan -- he has dealt with injured players in the past with the likes of Justin Hamilton, Brent Wright, Teddy Dupay, and Matt Walsh.
Donovan has instilled in his players that they can only gain success as a team not as an individual. He has fully expected the entire team to take on the burden the loss of Humphrey as a team rather than individually. The loss of David Lee, Matt Walsh, and Anthony Roberson was replaced with team basketball -- something we have seen from the Gators this season with a different player stepping up to lead the team in scoring every game.
"If I have to rely on David Huertas to pick up for Lee Humphrey, we have problems on our basketball team, major problems. The guys that suit up and play on Tuesday night against Ole Miss, those are the guys that have to put us in a position to win -- not David Huertas, not Walter Hodge," said Donovan. "I would be crazy as a coach to put that type of a responsibility on two freshmen going in on the road in a hostile environment."