1/10: Donovan discucess team’s highs and lows

By Adam Silverstein
January 11, 2011

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability on Monday.

“AWARENESS AND UNDERSTANDING” KEYS TO RECENT TURNAROUND

After failing to score at least 70 points in seven games, Florida has done so in each of its past three contests (71, 84, 77) and has had what some would consider an offensive resurgence since Dec. 31. Donovan attributes the improvement to the team’s overall understanding and execution of the game plan.

“Our guys are always willing to make the extra pass. When things happen inside of a game and plays happen very, very quickly and you have to react, I felt like earlier in the year we were not taking advantage of each other’s strengths and talents,” he said. “Nothing more than probably a lack of awareness or understanding of what’s open, what’s available and what they should be looking at.

“As time has gone on, they have gotten better at seeing some of those things. We needed to do a better job taking advantage of each other’s skill set. Hopefully we can continue to get better because as you start to play, teams are going to take away different things and you’re going to have to adjust and adapt to counters and different things preparation-wise.”

Just because the Gators are improved does not mean the team has taken their game to another level. “When the ball goes in the basket, it gives the appearance that you’re playing better,” Donovan added. “There’s no question that when the ball goes into the basket for any team – that helps. It can’t get to a point where, if we’re not shooting the ball well, it bleeds into and affects the other things that they’re doing on the floor. We can’t be a team that, when the ball is not going into the basket, it affects those minutes we’re not shooting the ball.”

UNHERALDED CONTRIBUTIONS KEEP TEAMS IN GAMES

“On ESPN they don’t show great block outs or a guy stepping up and taking a charge. They show high-flying dunks, a guy who scored 40. Instinctively, people will say, ‘How did you do? How many points did you score?’ And a lot of times it has nothing to do with that,” said Donovan when discussing some of the other priorities he trying to instill.

“If we don’t shoot the ball well and we don’t do the other things I’m talking about, we have no shot at winning. I don’t think any team has a shot at winning. So what you really try to do as a coach is control the things you have control over as a team. And then what you try to do is unselfishness, extra pass, high assist total, guys taking shots that they have a chance and an opportunity to make. If you don’t shoot the ball well, you still want to give yourself a chance to win in a grind-out game. We got to offset some of that stuff because not every team every game is going to shoot great. For our team sometimes we have more off nights shooting it than we do [on nights].”

That message has gotten through to the team, especially freshman center Patric Young. “Basketball’s way more than just scoring on the offensive side,” he said. “You have to block out and play defense. What are [coach’s] favorite words? Block out. Step up. Take a charge. Move the ball.”

Read more from Donovan and the centers…after the break!

QUOTES

Redshirt senior C Vernon Macklin on Tennessee: “Physical guys. They play great defense. They’re long and quick. They can play on-on-one very well.”

Macklin on his health: “It’s tough. Once I get over one injury, another one comes. I’m going to keep working until I get 100 percent. Playing against physical guys every day, plus practicing against Pat every day, there’s a lot of wear and tear on that.”

Young on his progress as a freshman: “I feel like I’m learning a lot. I’m trusting the coaches a lot more and buying into what they’ve been telling me. It’s been showing the last few games.”

Young on why he was down on himself: “Probably listening to the wrong people. Putting a lot of pressure on myself to perform, which is the worst thing I could do.”

Young on his thoughts on Macklin: “I admire that he’s a warrior. He’s probably one of my favorite people I’ve ever played basketball with. Just to learn from him. He’s a good role model to me and a warrior.”

Donovan on Tennessee not having head coach Bruce Pearl on the bench: “I don’t know all the inner workings of their staff or how they’re handling the situation. I would say this: When I had John Pelphrey and Anthony Grant and guys who were with me for a long period of time, you all start to think alike and prepare alike. Certainly their staff at Tennessee has been together for a long period of time. It’s a difficult situation for them. What kind of impact that has on their team and game? They’re probably more equipped to handle that than I would be.”

Donovan on the Ole Miss game: “More than anything else, I thought we were not aggressive enough. Ole Miss really drove us hard. We got caught several times below the three-point line, which allowed a couple of those guys to knock down threes. We needed to be up higher on the floor than we were. […] We got too deep with our defense and too consumed with the drive that we gave up too many three-point shots in the second half.”

Donovan on the human element: “In competition as a coach you’re always battling the human element. The human element that you’re battling is you got to get them to see that they got to change their focus. How many times do you see a team have a great, great win and then the next game come back and have a letdown? It takes a mental resolve and a mental toughness to be able to move past that and have a very short-term memory.”

Donovan on his team’s maturity: “I wouldn’t say that we have great maturity. We have a group of guys that are older guys. The one thing I love about competition is regardless of what happened yesterday has nothing to do with what’s going on right now. It’s the one thing in life that you do that there’s no prejudices. Because we beat Ole Miss, we don’t start the game in Knoxville up 10 or up five. There are guys that really thrive in that kind of situation. When you talk about guys that are great competitors, it’s that next challenge that’s in front of them they get excited about because it’s a challenge.”

Donovan on Tennessee: “They’re very long, very athletic and very deep. They play a lot of different people – probably the deepest team we’ve played against. They can come off the bench with a lot of athleticism, speed and quickness. They’re an explosive offensive team; they can get out in transition and really, really score in transition. They have the ability to throw the ball inside and shoot from the perimeter. They’re a team that presents and poses a lot of challenges for you on the defensive end of the floor.”

Donovan on senior forward Chandler Parsons’s improvement: “When people talk about Chandler the last couple games, that’s over with right now. Just because something happened negatively or positively for him last game does not mean that it’s going to happen again. He’s doing other things to help our team [aside from shooting the ball]. He’s working harder defensively, and there’s no question when he’s shooting the ball well – and Boynton and Walker are shooting the ball well – it adds a different element to our team.”

One Comment

  1. g8ter27 says:

    lets see how much that nessage gets thru tonight. I will keep my fingers crossed but not hold my breath.

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