Donovan speaks on team after back-to-back wins

By Adam Silverstein
February 22, 2010

In the midst of a stretch where they will play three games in only a six-day span, Florida Gators basketball was back in the gym Monday practicing for their contest Tuesday at home against the No. 19/17 Tennessee Volunteers on ESPN at 9 p.m. Head coach Billy Donovan spoke with the media about a number of topics regarding his team.

On senior forward Dan Werner‘s play at Ole Miss: “He made a huge, huge three on a blocked shot with the shot clock running down. Sometimes the ball falls in guys’ hands when they are wide open. When you’re dealing with young players, you can’t say, ‘never shoot, never shoot, stop shooting the ball.’ Then all of a sudden they’re sitting there wide open on a play and they think back about their coaches telling them not to shoot. I was happy that Dan Werner stepped up and took the shot with a level of confidence and a three-point game went up to six with under five minutes to go. It was a big shot for us.”

On freshman guard Kenny Boynton‘s struggles from downtown: “I think Kenny understands where his shooting percentages have been better and the shots he does make, in relation to the shots that are ill-advised, and it is all part of a learning process. He is a streaky shooter. He could knock down six or seven in a game and we’d like that because it would help our team win. The thing I love about Kenny is he’s all about the team, he’s a great kid and he’ll do whatever is asked of him. The way he shot the ball bothers him more than anyone and I know how hard he takes it, but we need him. He’s been defending well and I have a responsibility as a coach to let him know and teach him when good and bad times are to pull up and take a shot.””

On the emergence of junior F Chandler Parsons: “I think Chandler was one guy, in his first two years, that was disillusioned about what goes into a team and what he needed to do as a player to contribute. He never had a clear understanding and never addressed his issues during his first two years. He thought he had it figured out, what he needed to do, and he didn’t because his focus was on things that had nothing to do with winning. The thing that I’ve seen, and he’s one of the few players I’ve coached – he takes home game film, the game we played and he also takes home film of the next opponent we’re playing. He actually watches film. I can tell he’s changed because he talks about it in a totally different perspective than he did two years ago. There are things he’s seeing out there that he would have never recognized two years ago. Through his ups and downs, the one thing about Chandler I love is that he has an incredible persistency to figure it out. Some guys don’t have great resiliency when things don’t go well – they give in and quit. Chandler has a mental fight to want to figure out what he’s got to do to get better. It’s allowed him to be more aggressive and confident as a player.”

On the improvement of redshirt junior center Vernon Macklin:
“One thing is our ability to try to get him the ball in areas that he can score. He made some pretty tough plays at Ole Miss. He ran the floor well and we were able to get him the ball over the top to get some lay-ups. The other thing is he went to the free-throw line and he made free throws. Against Xavier, he missed all of his free-throws and that helped him get motivated a little bit. This is really the first year he’s played significant time in a significant role.”

On how Tennessee has changed since the first meeting in January: “Their team has changed a little bit more getting (Brian) Williams back, who didn’t play against us last time. He’s a very strong, physical front court player. (Melvin) Goins is playing a lot more and has been moved into the starting lineup. There will be some personnel things that we’ll have to deal with. The fact that they’ve been playing smaller at times and have been using (J.P.) Prince in the power forward spot will be a bit of a different look.”

On the Volunteers consistently outrebounding the Gators: “We’re going to have to do a better job as it relates to loose basketballs, block-out situations. […] Our guys know the importance of rebounding now and I thought in our last game against Ole Miss, which is a spectacular rebounding team because they’re so aggressive, we did a pretty good job at eliminating their second-chance shots when they did go up. We’ll have to do the same thing for 40 minutes against Tennessee with their quickness, length and size.”

Photo Credit: Bruce Floyd

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