7/10: Donovan on USA Basketball, 2013-14 season

By Adam Silverstein
July 10, 2013

Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Wednesday after returning to the United States coming off of a gold medal victory with USA Basketball in the 2013 FIBA World Championships. He discussed his experience overseas in Prague, Czech Republic, and the upcoming 2013-14 season.

GOLDEN, AGAIN

Leading the American under-19 team to a perfect 9-0 record at the world championship, Donovan captured his second gold medal in as many summers and looks primed to be involved in USA Basketball going forward. He called the last three weeks “an incredible experience” and noted that the relentless energy and constant selflessness of the team is why it was so successful in the tournament.

“It felt like we had a good group of guys. The hardest thing in that situation is these teams you’re playing against have been practicing, in some cases, over a year, and in some cases 4-5-6 months. We probably had about 10-12 days of practice after the tryouts to get ready to play,” he explained.

“We had a bunch of guys, all of them 1-12, that had really good motors, really good energy. The winning to them was really important. … Every single one of those guys was a high-profile, really good player. They all knew going in that there was going to be some form of sacrifice that was going to have to take place for us to win.”

Donovan said the gold medal was “pretty special” but could not rank it among his career accomplishments because it was a “totally different” feeling than he got winning two national championships at Florida. He also said he would be up for continuing to work with USA Basketball in the future.

“I’d like to help. I really enjoy it. I find it very refreshing and rejuvenating,” he said. “When they asked me to do this, there’s probably a lot of other coaches they could’ve asked to do this. If they want me to do something in the future, I would be more than happy to help any way I can.”

Read some of Donovan’s thoughts on Florida basketball..after the break!

PUNISHMENT JUST BEGINNING

Indefinitely suspended by Donovan exactly one month ago for a violation of team rules, senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin remains separated from his teammates while he tries to earn his way back in the program’s good graces.

“He’s got something he’s go to do. He’s got to deal with that right now,” Donovan said. “I haven’t really spent a lot of time talking to him [recently]. We had some talks before I left, but he knows what’s in front of him and what he has to do.”

Donovan did not expand much on the specifics of what Wilbekin must do to rejoin the Gators but chose not to mince words when explaining that it will not be as simple as him one day suddenly being allowed back into the practice facility.

“I haven’t commented a whole lot about Scottie and probably won’t a whole lot just because our seasons is not going on. It’s not like we’re playing games or practicing. He’s got a road to hoe a little bit to get himself back. There’s some things out there in front of him that he needs to do right now and he’s working hard to try to do those things,” he said.

“This is not a situation where this is going to be something that’s all of a sudden going to be a quick fix, suspension, and one of those things where I say, ‘OK this guy’s suspended,’ and then all of a sudden he’s back here in the middle of Summer B. The rest of this summer, he’s not part of our team. Then what we’ll do is I’ll probably sit down and meet with him once the fall semester starts and go from there.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On how the experience in the world championship may have benefited sophomore guard Michael Frazier II: “I think it will be really good. I think being around Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) for three weeks was a great thing for Mike. I think him being around Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke) and a lot of these different guys around the perimeter was really good. Probably the tryouts, the practices every day, double sessions playing against those quality of players helped him, probably gave him some confidence. … With the international [three-point] line, guys don’t shoot the ball particularly well. There’s an adjustment period because it’s a deeper shot. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well to start the tournament, but once he got into a rhythm and got a little bit more comfortable with the distance, I think he was 7-for-12 his last three or four games from the three-point line. He shot it much better.”

» On how senior forward Will Yeguete’s is recovering after undergoing offseason knee surgery: “He’s doing fine. It’s going to be a long road for him just recovering, just the length of time because of the surgery. But in terms of the healing process and him being back and being able to play or ready to play this year, we feel totally optimistic about that. He just got out of a leg brace, so he’s able to move his leg a lot more. With this surgery, there’ss real healing time the first 6-8 weeks that they’ve got to let him rest. He’ll start doing more and more rehab right now. I don’t think there’s anything that we’re concerned about that he won’t be able to practice once we start.”

» On how involved senior center Patric Young, who is coming off minor ankle surgery, has been looking during the summer: “He’s been good, Patric right now. He’s really worked hard. He obviously had the ankle surgery to get rid of some bone spurs. He’s doing fine. He’s basically healthy right now, doing workouts. He wasn’t here for the first session of summer school, but he’s back here now as are the rest of the guys.”

» On the status of transfer G Eli Carter and whether his waiver to play immediately has been submitted: “That’s really more right now in Rutgers’ hands. He’s got to apply for that and he’s got to go through writing a letter and then the letter has got to be submitted to Rutgers. Rutgers has also got to submit a letter. Really the people that help in all that is Rutgers, however they want to handle the situation. I have not been in contact with them at all. I have really stayed out of it. It’s something that Eli and his family need to do. … Whether or not that happens, that’s really between Rutgers and the NCAA. All Eli can do is make an appeal that he would like to play right away.”

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