Ranked No. 1 overall in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, the Florida Gators began receiving long-awaited but much-deserved press when event started two weeks ago but has understandably seen its national media coverage double over the last few days while ramping up to play in its first Final Four since 2007.
Below are a few must-read and must-view national articles, videos and pictures relating to the Gators from the last few days.
Florida has gone from looking like a future NBA team to looking like a mid-major deluxe, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. The one-and-done thing works for John Calipari at Kentucky. The mid-major thing works for Gregg Marshall at Wichita State. Donovan is somewhere in the middle, getting the occasional superstar recruit like Young or Bradley Beal but surrounding those guys with pieces that are brimming with character and growth.
And in doing so, Billy Donovan hasn’t redefined just the Florida basketball program. He has redefined the Florida basketball coach.
ESPN: Billy Donovan’s success is unparalleled
Before Donovan, Florida won one SEC title and went to five NCAA tournaments in 81 years. Since then, Florida has won six SEC titles and been to 14 NCAA tournaments in 18 seasons. This year’s Elite Eight trip was Donovan’s fourth straight. If UF wins the 2014 national title, he will become just the sixth coach in history to win three NCAA titles.
Examining his legacy relative to his own school does Donovan a disservice. At 48, he’s already one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time. …
This season has been Donovan’s master class. After a fall spent juggling injuries and suspensions, he has his team at 36-2 and riding a 30-game winning streak, the longest in school history by 13 games. His team is the fifth (1975-76 Indiana, 1977-78 Indiana State, 1990-91 UNLV and 1998-99 Duke) in NCAA history to enter a Final Four with 30 straight wins. Its only two losses this season came to fellow Final Four teams (Wisconsin, Connecticut). With at least one game left to play, the list of team and player records Florida has set is jaw-dropping. All the while, the Gators’ success has been received with roughly the same kind of shrug you’d get by telling people that Duke might have a decent team next season. The Gators were the No. 1 overall seed because they were the best team in the country, because duh. Of course they’re good. They’re Florida, right?
Yahoo! Sports: Rugged body, soft heart: Patric Young transformed into a leader
This week the 6-foot-9, 249-pound Florida big man will bring the most imposing physique of anyone to the Final Four. But to know Pat Young for his hard body only is to disregard the soft center that truly makes him who he is – for better and worse. He is far more than a powerful pair of biceps and a manly Zeus beard; the heart and soul are where his story truly lies. …
One year before Christmas, Patric called his mom and asked what she was getting him for a present. Thinking that an odd question, Bennita asked him why.
“He didn’t want to have a present and have Will [Yeguete] get nothing,” Bennita recalled. “So he said, ‘Just spend half what you were going to spend on me and get the same for Will.’ “
Florida arrives in North Texas for the Final Four
Campus Insiders: Erik Murphy on Billy Donovan’s formula for success
Gainesville Sun: Billy Donovan supports long-time fan
Legally blind since 2004, Millman has enjoyed Florida basketball through an unprecedented run of success. He will be in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday to watch top-ranked Florida face Connecticut in the Final Four, with tickets left from a special friend, Florida coach Billy Donovan.
Millman forged a friendship with Donovan when the two met at a Gator Club gathering in Atlanta in 2000. A custom tailor, Millman offered to make Donovan some free suits. …
Donovan has returned Millman’s initial favor of making him suits by leaving him tickets as close to the court as possible for road games. During the offseason, when Millman visits Gainesville to see his son, Sean, a graduate student at UF and a member of the Rowdy Reptile student fan club, Donovan will give him 15 to 30 minutes in his office to talk about the state of the team.
— Tim Casey (@TimCaseyPhoto) April 3, 2014
Billy's kid watching Billy the Kid at the Final Four pic.twitter.com/rNEJhHvMZV
— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) April 3, 2014
— Stu Whitney (@stuwhitney) March 29, 2014