11/10: Donovan, players speak before first game

By Adam Silverstein
November 11, 2010

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 from his latest media availability in the following post. Additional material from some of Florida’s players can also be found below.

SECOND HALF STARTS STILL A CONCERN

After the Gators’ second preseason game, Donovan was emphatic that the way they team performed in the second half against Georgetown College was not acceptable. Ever since, he has made a point in practice to ensure the team knows it cannot come out of halftime lackadaisical – especially against much better opponents.

“It definitely got addressed and something that we really talked about. We had better practices from that. It’s not so much the handling of expectations as much as it is the handling of prosperity – when you get recognized, when you get attention, when people talk favorably about you, positively about it,” Donovan said. “If you look at the first half of the Florida Tech game, if you look at the first half of the Georgetown game, those teams are shooting 33-34 percent from the field, they’re shooting 22 percent from the three-point line, and we’re forcing about 14 turnovers in the half.

“Now you take the second half of both those two games and you put together a 40-minute stat sheet – 20 minutes of each half – and we’re giving up 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from the three-point line. Can you play with a lead? Can you play when its 44-19? Can you understand, maturity-wise, that Georgetown is going to come out of the locker room and start the second half with a high level of intensity? They’re down by 25 points! If they were in that situation, I would hope they’d do the same thing! It’s a mentality that you have to have where the first four minutes starts in the second half and you send a message to that team that, ‘We’re not letting you back in the game.’”

Senior forward Chandler Parsons reiterated Donovan’s message, explaining that it has hit home with the team. “We don’t want to let up. Up 20, down 20, we want to come out and play our game, play with energy,” he said. “Especially when we have a team up – at home – we don’t want to take our foot off the gas. We want to keep going and keep trying to extend the lead.”

WILBEKIN INJURY UPDATE

Though Florida’s depth in the frontcourt has been seriously strengthened, it is pretty much freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin or bust behind junior Erving Walker. Injuring his neck against Florida Tech, Wilbekin missed UF’s second exhibition game and finally returned to limited practice on Tuesday. Donovan expects him to be active for Friday’s game after a full-contact practice on Thursday even though Wilbekin’s conditioning has suffered because he has not been able to run or work out until this week. “It was so painful that he could not lift his arms over his shoulders,” Donovan said.

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on shot selection concerns: “The thing you are always trying to look at is – are you getting good shots? Last year in some of our shooting, I felt like Erving being young, Kenny Boynton being young, it was kind of a learning and growing process from those two guys. Those two guys have got a much, much better feel and understand[ing] of the shots, when and where they need to come from, time and score, possession [and] shot clock – I think they have a much better understanding of that.”

Donovan on looking beyond the first game: “Because the season is long, you can get caught looking at the [entire] season. I know this sounds like a coaching cliché, but we have to prepare for today so we’re better off for tomorrow. And that’s really the mentality that we have to have.”

Donovan on UNC-Wilmington: “People know of Buzz Peterson being in this league. He’s a terrific coach, great guy. They are a team that is very, very unique. He’s always been very creative on offense.”

Donovan on his good record in November: “Sometimes when you’re playing that early in the season, I don’t know if everybody is really evolved into who they are going to eventually become. Maybe we’ve played some teams where maybe at this time of year we’ve been a little bit further ahead.”

Parsons on his hopes for Friday: “I’d like for us to come out with energy and fire. We really need to just execute offensively and defensively.”

Parsons on his goals this year: “To win. Straight up, to win as many games as I can possibly do and win this university a championship.”

Parsons on how if actually feels like his senior season: “It does. I had a great career here. I love everything about this school, the fans, the academics, my coaching staff. I’ve loved every single teammate I’ve had. Time definitely flew by, but I plan on making this year my best.”

Parsons on if playing is more fun now: “It is. I love being a senior. I love helping these guys out. I love being able to encourage each freshman. I see what they’re going through every day; I’ll see them after a drill go lay down on the floor like they just got shot by a sniper and it’s like, I’ve been there before. It’s weird but I like being a leader and I’m enjoying the role that I have.”

Parsons on the difference of having seniors on a team when freshmen arrive compared to not: “It makes a world of difference. It’s one thing you can’t teach is experience. We have a team like our team – having me, having Vern [on Macklin], having Alex [Tyus], having Adam [Allen] – guys that have been through everything. Wins, losses, the tournament, NIT, Adam being injured and having to sit out a year, I feel like we have a combination of players who have really been in every single situation possible to help these younger guys if they ever have to go through that.”

Freshman center Patric Young on how he is playing: “I think I’m actually a lot better than what I thought I’d be coming into Florida. I kind of thought I was already pretty good – just the little things I did in high school – but I was humbled down when I got here. I see that. I made a lot of adjustments, and I’ve been working out with a lot of the coaches. I’ve gotten a lot better since I’ve been here.”

Young on the speed of the game: “The times where we play five-on-five and coach is calling out plays, I’m like ‘Oh man, I got to make sure I remember these plays because coach will get on me.’ He’s been getting on me a lot making jokes about me forgetting plays here and there.”

Young on whether or not practice is fun: “It’s been all competition. We’re kind of getting tired of playing against each other. We’re just beating each other up. We’re ready to beat on somebody else coming up this Friday. We’re really excited for this game because we think we’re really prepared and ready for it.”

Young on who keeps it loose in practice: “Adam. Always get a good laugh out of Adam. Just look at him and he’ll say something that will just have you in tears.”

Young on where he needs the most improvement: “I can always have a better understanding of defensive concepts like always being alert on defense, jumping the line. Being alert really is the biggest thing for defense because when you come out there and you’re not talking and you don’t look like you’re ready then you won’t be ready and the offense will just be able to dominate you without any threat of your defense being able to stop them at all.”

5 Comments

  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Good read Adam.
    One question though about Adam Allen, is he back on the team? I haven’t heard much about him lately.

  2. Timmy T says:

    Adam,
    Did you already fire Malik? LOL

    Seriously, I think the hoops boys should be a tough team to beat, night in and night out. Should be a fun year. I’m anxious for the season to start and see how the guys returning have improved, as well as see the new gang.

  3. Wingtee says:

    We will be pretty good but not near great. Shooting as a team an d no go to guy will be a problem

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