GAINESVILLE, Fla. — It went down during a recent Florida practice. Not a scrimmage, just a practice. No one can recall what exactly led to the exchange between forwards Keyontae Johnson and Anthony Duruji, nor does it even matter. The important thing was it happened, the coaches and players saw it, which means it can happen again. All parties, in fact, want it to happen again.
Duruji got mad.
A different version of Duruji was unleashed. A more aggressive, more physical, more intense one. The elite athleticism took on a edgy and fiery flair that manifested itself most notably on defense and on the glass. Afterward, UF assistant coach Darris Nichols pulled Duruji aside and complimented him on what may have been his best all-around day as a Gator.
“I don’t like doing that,” Duruji confessed to his coach. “I don’t like being that guy.”
“Oh, so you don’t like playing that good?” Nichols shot back.
To reinforce the rhetorical message, Nichols walked his fourth-year junior forward over to the court and pointed to the out-of-bounds line. Make a habit, Nichols told Duruji, to flip a mental switch when he crossed the line. It’s OK to be a nice guy and consummate teammate off the court, Nichols assured, and