11/15: Donovan, players speak about Ohio State

By Adam Silverstein
November 16, 2010

No. 9/10 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.


Donovan has made it a point over the last two seasons to schedule tough opponents early both to increase strength of schedule and test his team. That is why the No. 4/5 Ohio State Buckeyes are heading to Gainesville, FL, on Tuesday for a rekindling of a recent rivalry.

“This is a great test and a great opportunity for both [teams]. One because it is so early in the season, it is the second game for both of us right now,” Donovan said Monday. “There’s a long way to go, you find out a lot more about your team in these situations. There will probably be some things in the game that we will need to get better at improve on. They’ll probably say the same thing. There’s no question we’re going against a physical frontcourt with [Dallas] Lauderdale, [Jared] Sullinger and [Deshaun] Thomas and that poses great challenges for our frontcourt as well to do the things we are talking about physically.”

But wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved if the game was a few weeks later? “Part of me really, really likes the fact that it is really this early,” Donovan continued. “The opportunity to play against a team clearly that returns four starters, they return guys that won a Big 10 Championship. They’re veterans and they add the best recruiting class in the country to their team. And Sullinger [is] arguably the best player in the country. […] Things are going to get exposed that you gotta get better at and sometimes its better off finding out those things now than it is later.”


Freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin had an impressive showing in his first regular season game, showcasing his poise, crisp passing and mature defense. Donovan raved about Wilbekin on Monday and hinted that he should see the court plenty this season.

“He’s really a disciplined kid, and when I say ‘disciplined,’ he really does the right things at the right time. When you talk about the discipline part of doing your job and doing the things you need to do, that’s what has really enabled him to come in and play,” he said. “His game will get better. As a coach, you always enjoy playing guys [from whom] you kind of know what you’re getting. I’ve been very, very impressed with him. I’ve been impressed with his toughness, and I’ve been impressed with his stamina.”


Asked about the health of redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin, Donovan confirmed that he is dealing with some knee issues – specifically tendinitis and bone spurs. “He’s been in and out of practice here the last couple of days. He’s dealing with some knee issues; it’s nothing that s going to prevent him from playing [Tuesday],” he said. “Going forward that is a concern for me. We’ll have to wait and see, but he’s been battling it now for the last week to 10 days. It’s definitely probably affected him some, but I’ve always been the believer when you step across the lines and put the jersey on, you have to go out there and play.”

QUOTES (After the break…)

Donovan on difficulties with the press last year: “With Nimrod [Tishman] and even Ray Shipman a little bit – we could never develop a rotation in our backcourt that allowed us to press more.”

Donovan on considering redshirting freshman forward Cody Larson: “With depth in our frontcourt, the thing that we’re going to really look at doing – and whether or not we do it or not – is the possibility of even redshirting him. […] there’s a possibly that could happen. Maybe not. Like anything else, in talking to him, I always have felt like you really need to give a player an option. He probably sees with our frontcourt being seniors, Patric [Young], Erik Murphy and Will [Yeguete] right now, he’s probably a guy that’s going to be a very, very good player. [I’m] leaving it up to him of what he wants to do. I’m not going to throw him into games. If I play him, that opportunity [to redshirt him] is over with. With Vernon’s knee, God forbid something happens to Vernon, something happens to another frontcourt guy and all of a sudden you’re playing him. I want to keep that option open for him right now, and he knows that. And he’s fine with that, and he’s good with that. Anytime you redshirt somebody, if it works out that way, what you’re saying to him is, ‘You’re going to be a very, very good player in this program and we’re willing to invest another year in you.’ And I think he’s going to be terrific.”

Donovan on incoming five-star G Brad Beal: “He’s really special. He’s a special winner. Besides his talent level with the way he can shoot and score and the way he plays, there are certain guys when you look at them they got that “it” factor you kind of can’t put your finger on it. They kind of make things happen and find ways to win. I think brad is out of that mold. […] He just has an incredible ability of understanding how to win. I think he’s a great teammate. The one thing he’s going to be able to do is he’s really going to be able to stretch defenses because he’s as good of a shooter as I probably have signed coming in here as a freshman.”

Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton on Ohio State: “I didn’t know they were so good until I seen them on film last week. Overall I think they have a really good team, a deep team, we’re going to have to rebound [well] this game. I think we’ll match their physicality; I think we’re also a physical team. Whatever they bring out, we’re going to match it. We’re definitely not soft.”

Senior F Alex Tyus on Ohio State: “They’re really big, they have a lot of size, they’re really athletic. It’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.”

Tyus on his confidence from downtown: “Very confident. As long as I feel confident in practice then I’ll feel confident in the game. It’s been working out for me.”

Senior F Chandler Parsons on if he wishes the game was later in the season: “It’s good to have it early. It’s a good test to see where we are. I think it’s awesome to play a team of this caliber to correct things now that we’re not good at and we can also see things that we are very good at.”

Parsons on Florida being called a finesse/soft team: “If [Ohio State] considered one of the toughest teams in America, it’s a great challenge for us to go up and compete against them. We’re a totally different team this year than the last couple of years. We bring just as much physicality as they do.”


  1. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Man this is gonna be a tough game tonight. Now we will really see how well we measure up against another top 10 team. Because this game is being played in the O’Dome I say that the Gators get a win.
    Go Gators!!!!!

  2. Basshole says:

    I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think we have the big bodies to match up with these guys. Win or lose, it will be a good test and will prepare us for some of the teams we will see when/if we make the NCAA.

  3. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Well the thing we do have going for us is that we are much faster than OSU. That may make a big difference in the waning minutes of the game.

  4. Wingtee says:

    Gatorbuc you are going to learn how to be humbled before it rips your guts out . Sunshine pumping is useless and embarassing

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