Donovan on transfers, replacements, recruiting

By Adam Silverstein
April 4, 2010

With criticism surrounding him even after leading the Florida Gators to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in three seasons, head coach Billy Donovan sat down with radio host Steve Russell of the Sportscene program on WRUF 850 AM to discuss why players transfer, why he allows them to switch programs and why it is so difficult to replace them, especially on short notice.

Check out what head coach Billy Donovan had to say…after the break!

On Ray Shipman’s decision to transfer: “I think sometimes when people see somebody transfer they immediately identify negativity [like] bad relationships. And it’s anything but that. […] He wants a bigger role. He wants more minutes. He wants to do more in a situation as it relates to basketball. David Huertas left because he wanted to take more shots. I think Ray could have served a great role for us. I think there are things that he can do for any basketball team that would be very good but he doesn’t want to be a defensive stopper even though he’s a good defensive player and has no problem playing defense. He wants a bigger role offensively.”

On allowing players leave for another program: “Do I agree with all these young kids the way they view it? No, but they’ve got to figure it out for themselves sometimes. I did not want any of those guys to leaves. I wanted them all to stay, but I also wanted them to be happy. I’m not going to make promises to a player that I cannot live up to. I think every kid has an equal opportunity every day at practice to prove [themselves] and earl the kind of role that he wants.”

On Jai Lucas’ move to Texas: “I look at a guy like Jai Lucas who was playing 30-plus minutes a game. He didn’t really want to play off the ball as much. He’s a great kid, but he made the decision to leave Florida and goes to Texas and he hardly ever plays. He’s got to live with that.”

On the high number of transfers: “Forty percent of all college basketball players never make it to their junior year at the same school. It’s not a Florida issue; it’s a national issue that’s out there right now.”

On replacing players who leave early or transfer to another program: “When we lost Nick Calathes, the first guy I went to was John Wall and I sat down with John Wall. But back in July, John Wall had absolutely no interest in Florida because Nick Calathes was there. There was so much of a relationship to make up in April and it was too late. There was too much work done by too many people.”

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