1/27: Donovan on Georgia win, rest of season

By Adam Silverstein
January 28, 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 Thursday.

STRUGGLES AFTER JANUARY

Over the previous three seasons, Donovan’s Gators are a combined 18-24 beginning on Feb. 1. Asked about his team’s ineffectiveness when trying to close out the Southeastern Conference slate and head into the postseason, Donovan pointed to the schedule as the main culprit, noting that Florida often plays many of its best opponents (read: SEC East) toward the end. The same goes for this year.

“You got to look at the scheduling and the way it falls,” he said. “We still have to play Kentucky twice. We still have to play Vanderbilt twice. We still have to play Tennessee again, Georgia again, South Carolina again. Not to say that our first five or six games were easy games, because I do not think that was the case in this league. There’s no question the teams that we’re playing going forward, I think everybody would say are probably better than the teams we’ve played up to this point in time.”

RECOUNTING THE DOUBLE-OVERTIME WIN

Looking back on UF’s double-overtime victory against Georgia, Donovan pointed out that – in the grand scheme of things – it may have been emotional but it was just a single win in a very long season.

“It’s only one win. They come pretty quickly from the standpoint of we have to go play a difficult game on the road Saturday,” he said. “I thought we had a great opportunity to win the game in regulation. We made some plays and missed some free throws to really put the game [within their reach].

“We left the door open for them. Our guys were teetering a little bit just emotionally. The game going into overtime, we found a way to get through it and keep it close. When Erving [Walker] made the three, it put them in an emotional thing where they thought the game was over with. We were able to capitalize and go on a little bit of a run.”

PLAYING IT SAFE VS. BEING AGGRESSIVE

Asked about the Gators propensity for taking three-pointers early in the shot clock, especially toward the end of games, Donovan dismissed the notion that it always angers him. Recounting some of the shots Florida took on Tuesday, he explained why quick shots – especially when they are good looks – are not always a negative thing.

“You have to maintain a level of aggressiveness,” he said. “There is a point in time in the game where you’ve got to look at the clock. Two minutes to go in a two possession game, you got to maintain a level of aggressiveness because there’s probably going to be another eight possessions in that game. […] There is a balance and a fine line there. I want our guys to maintain a level of aggressiveness. I’d rather have us being aggressive rather than trying to passively hold on.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

On Florida’s proficiency on the road: “Sometimes on the road it’s a lot easier to narrow your focus because you’re out of town, you’re in a hotel, you’re totally focused as a group. There’s a lot of unity and togetherness there.”

On maintaining his team’s competitive maturity and helping them handle success: “There’s a human element that’s always involved that everybody deals with, and we’re going to have to deal with it again. I don’t believe in life that you have anything figured out. You got to understand that there’s an approach, a mentality, a way you’ve got to handle those situations. I hope we can put that game behind us. The same goes for a difficult loss.”

On issues he has with motivating his team: “I don’t think the motivation part of it is a problem for our guys. Everybody wants to win. There’s not one team out there that doesn’t want to win. I choose to view it as – you need to hate losing more than you enjoy winning. When you have that kind of mentality, that’s a little bit different; when losing hurts more than it feels [good] to win. When you go into these kinds of games and stretches where you’re dealing with a lot of emotion going back and forth, it’s not so much the motivation as much as it is that every player has a personality. Some personalities are more laid back than others; some personalities are more hyper than others. […] Our guys are motivated. They want to do well; they want to win. Sometimes when you get pushed back against the wall and you feel on edge, you have that nervous tension. There’s that balance there, and for every player it’s a little bit different.”

On Mississippi State:“[Their] starting five is as talented and gifted as any starting five in this league.”

7 Comments

  1. Basshole says:

    “Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen –” and we like reading, although you can’t tell by the number of comments on BBall posts (unless we had an ugly loss). Every time Donovan speaks, I love what he says. He treads that line of calling his players out and coddling them very well. We may not have the team everybody wants, but we have a competitive team that can play with almost any team in the country. The only loss that was close to ugly was OSU, and they have been steamrolling people recently.

    • You’re telling me. Very disappointed in the ratio of basketball comments to football comments.

      • ken says:

        People are saving it for the tourneys, Basketball is endurance, Football is a sprint! I stream most of the baseball games here at work in CA, since they come on usually the last couple of hours, but so many games, would get callouses from all the commenting (sure hope they live up to expectations this year, though)

        • Basshole says:

          Ken, I have to disagree with you. People comment on FB from day one, hell, even before then. Just look at the ratio of comments on recruiting vs basketball, which is in full SEC swing. I understand that there is more interest in football (to me Gator FB >> Gator BB), but what kills me is all the negativity. There are no comments on BBall, no comments on BBall, then we lose, and there is 30 comment thread about how bad we suck. I just think we got a great coach, a decent (if mercurial) team and I wish people would enjoy it a bit more. We may not be cutting the nets this year, but this ain’t a bad squad, enjoy the season.

          • ken says:

            actually, i think this squad is finally starting to figure it out, and while the record doesnt show it, i think they are a legit top 10 team now like predicted at the beginning of the season. I think they finally get being unselfish, taking the extra pass, defending, etc. and have bought in. The Senior bigs are finally asserting themselves and playing as a team. Boynton seems to be not trying to just pad his stats lately, by bombing anything he can.

            The negativity comes because there were such high expectations for this team, and they have such stupid losses like UCF and jax. Even OSU was a game that should have won. It is hard to be positive when you see them being so selfish, and I think that is the vibe many have. Better not to post just to bitch about how they did it again than to just let it go and move on and hope better for next game, because 31 games in season, and tourneys still have big importance later.

  2. ken says:

    Adam, is there any way to set up live chats on here, so folks can chat during Gator events that may be watching on various media? Gatorzone has started doing some of that, was on one during Tennis finals last year while watching UF/UGA during tourney, and a couple of others they did in various sports earlier last year.

    • Yes it is possible. The problem is that it has to be moderated and if I’m watching/covering a game I can’t do both. We will have one briefly for National Signing Day and another for the entirety of the Orange & Blue Debut. Aside from that it is very difficult to pull off logistically.

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