LOOK: Florida basketball makes Billy Donovan Court name larger, permanent in O’Dome

By Adam Silverstein
May 12, 2020
LOOK: Florida basketball makes Billy Donovan Court name larger, permanent in O’Dome
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Back in February, the Florida Gators athletic program honored former head basketball coach Billy Donovan by naming the floor of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center after him. The long-awaited gesture, which fans had been itching to see for years, led to “Billy Donovan Court” being the official name of the playing surface in the newly renovated venue that Donovan helped build through his on-court success.

Donovan, 54, originally saw his name placed in decals on the bottom of the court underneath the key on the left basket. But that was simply a temporary solution for the 2019-20 season.

Florida recently made the court naming more permanent and official, adding it under the Gator Head logo at midcourt in a much larger size.

A court christening is as big as it gets in college basketball, and considering the Gators have only built statues of their Heisman Trophy winners, it is also the top recognition provided by this athletic program. Donovan will join only Steve Spurrier (Florida Field was named after him in 2016) with such an honor on the University of Florida campus.

For a coach like Donovan — he of back-to-back national championships, four Final Four appearances, 10 total SEC championships — it is a tribute well deserved.

Though Donovan has not been a failure during his tenure in the NBA with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he lost the Western Conference Finals his first season — the one year he had Kevin Durant — and has been knocked out in the first round of the NBA Playoffs over each the last three seasons.

Donovan entered the 2019-20 season in the final year of a five-year, $30 million contract. After starting .500 and looking like his tenure with the franchise may come to an unfortunate end, Donovan led the Thunder to a 40-24 mark and presumed spot in the NBA Playoffs at the time the coronavirus pandemic halted the season in its tracks.

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