2010 SEC Media Day: Georgia better than Florida?

By Adam Silverstein
October 21, 2010

Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan and senior forward Chandler Parsons represented the University of Florida on Thursday by appearing at a number of press conferences at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Media Day from Hoover, AL.

GEORGIA, NOT FLORIDA, THE BEAST OF THE EAST?

Though Donovan is thankful that his team is getting recognition, he believes going into the season that Georgia is the best team in the SEC East and one of the most talented in the nation. “Clearly Georgia was a team last year that was on the cusp of really having an unbelievable season,” he said. “Georgia, to me, is as good as anybody not only in our league, I think they’re as good as anybody in the country. […] They have two [F Trey Thompkins, guard Travis Leslie] placed on the All-SEC first team. We have none.”

Donvoan continued to downplay the hype surrounding Florida pointing to how the team struggled to make the NCAA Tournament. “Would the feeling be different if we didn’t make the tournament than it is right now? We’re kind of a feel-good team,” he said. “The reality is we got knocked out in the first round, we finished fourth in the East last year.”

DEPARTURES ARE GOOD AND BAD

Being able to help players develop into future NBA stars is a talent that would fill any head coach, including Donovan, with pride. However, being successful in that regard is not without its disadvantages for the program as a whole. “It’s a positive when you can have players go through your program and have the opportunity to play in the NBA,” Donovan said. “In a lot of respects, we were constantly starting over, and the early departures were something that was very difficult to deal with.”

[flashvideo filename=Video/2010_BBall_MediaDay_Florida_Donovan.mp4 /]
[flashvideo filename=Video/2010_BBall_MediaDay_Florida_Parsons.mp4 /]

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on expectations for his team: “I’m anxious. I don’t think a lot of the times we’ve handled the expectations well, of when we have been ranked at different times over the course of these players’ careers. Our guys have to understand the difference between perception and reality. When I talk about perception, if we were a team that didn’t get into the tournament, the theme would be different this year. The themes would be three straight years of no NCAA Tournament appearance or if our guys felt any pressure. But because we did get into the NCAA Tournament last season, the themes are we have five starters returning and we should be really good this season. That’s the perception. The reality is we were fourth in the SEC East, won one SEC Tournament game and didn’t win a NCAA Tournament game. We have a lot to do get better.”

Donovan on last year’s NCAA Tournament: “Our guys were really immature when it came to that. Our kids got consumed and focused in getting into the NCAA Tournament and I understand that. But they weren’t looking at the big picture. We have to focus on being the best team we can become. That’s a maturity issue when you’re focusing on getting into a tournament. It’s not about that tournament or the SEC Tournament. It’s about becoming the best team we can become and then the chips will fall into place for our group. If our focus is on something that’s irrelevant this early on in the season, then we’re wasting our time.”

Donovan on how Parsons has grown: “There are moments in time when you get great pleasure in coaching. Chandler has grown and developed more than any player I’ve ever coached. He’s really grown and matured, and I expect great things from him on the court. He deserves a great season. I’m really proud of the person he has become and a lot of it has to do with him making those changes.”

Donovan on being a leader for his players: “I think you’re always finding ways of becoming a better person and a better coach. I hope I’m growing and getting better as an individual. You always talk of your players getting better but you always have to try and be better as a coach. I don’t think there have been many changes regarding my leadership skills but through your experience, you always find different ways to do things.”

Parsons on his two game-winning shots last year: “The shots were unbelievable and it was a great feeling, but to get those two wins late in the year was just awesome for our team. The N.C. State shot was unheard of, complete luck, I can’t even take credit for that one. The South Carolina one was late in the SEC [schedule] and we needed that win. To be able to hit the game-winning shot as time expired in front of our home crowd was just really special.”

Parsons on senior F Alex Tyus testing the NBA waters: “I was supporting him 100 percent in whatever he wanted to do. If he wanted to make the jump early and go to the NBA, I was all for him. I’ll be the first to tell you I’m glad he’s back because he’s a huge part of our team.”

Parsons on having a deeper team this year: “Minutes are going to be different every game, and if it takes one of our older guys to play less minutes for the benefit of the team, for us to be successful, I think we have guys that are bought in and ready to do that.”

Parsons on his feelings during Selection Sunday: “That was awful. I hope to never have to go through that feeling again. You see all this whose in, whose out, [whose] on the bubble. You try not to listen to it, but you know it’s there so you’re going to see it. And then actual Selection Sunday comes and you really have no idea if you’re on. I remember last year we were in the film room all together as a team and just waiting on pins and needles. Fortunate enough we got the 10 seed. I think we deserved to be in it, and we were happy to be in it, but I think we have a totally different mindset this year. We don’t just want to get there. We want to make noise and win as many games as we can.”

Parsons on the high expectations: “It doesn’t put on any added pressure. We’re going to continue working hard regardless of how high we’re ranked. I think all of the expectations are based on what we did last year and who we have returning. We still have a lot improve on and a lot of things to get better at. We’re still a team in progress.”

Parsons on being a leader as a senior: “It’s huge. I’ve known these plays for four years now so when they’re struggling with the offense or defensive set-ups, I’m there to help them. Even off the court, whether it’s with tutoring or getting to class on time, I want them to understand their responsibilities. All of that factors into being a leader.”

Parsons on freshman power forward Patric Young: “I’ve never seen a freshman come in here with the kind of confidence he has on the court and the natural strength he has. Come season-time, he’s not going to back down from anybody.”

Photo Credit: Bruce Floyd

4 Comments

  1. 305gator says:

    BillyD is THE man.

  2. Wingtee says:

    UGA might have the top talent. We need Fox to get another job. Somewhere else!

  3. SC Gator says:

    As long as he can keep the team focused I think we’ll have a really good year.

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Wow, our little boy Chandler is all grown up! Sounds very mature and focused which can only be good for the team ( especially like the comments about the older guys being totally ‘bought in’ and willing to give up minutes to younger players for the good of the team!

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