Tag:Billy Donovan
Posted on: December 16, 2011 11:39 am
Edited on: December 16, 2011 12:01 pm

Donovan signs extension with Florida

By Gary Parrish

Florida announced Friday that Billy Donovan has signed a three-year extension that places him under contract with the school through the 2015-16 season.

"Billy Donovan has built one of the elite programs in the country at the University of Florida, he and his family have given 16 incredible years to this institution and community," said Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley. "His accomplishments speak for themselves. ... We’re thrilled that he will continue to lead our program for years to come."

As is the case with all contracts in college sports, Donovan's extension doesn't necessarily mean he'll lead Florida's program "for years to come." I mean, he probably will and I have no reason to think he won't. But if Donovan wants out he can get out at any time just like every other coach in America. Simply put, these announcements never mean what a coach or school wants you to think they mean. They're usually announced just to offset opposing schools telling recruits that a coach is leaving for this job or that job "because he doesn't even have an extended contract." That's why Donovan being extended through the 2015-16 season makes sense. Now he can tell high school seniors that he has a contract that'll keep him in Gainesville "through their senior years of college."

Anyway, this is no time to pick apart coaching contracts.

I can do that whenever.

I'd rather spend the rest of this space reminding everybody just how unbelievable Donovan has been at Florida because sometimes I think that gets overlooked. When fans talk about the sport's best coaches I usually hear names like Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, John Calipari, Bill Self and Brad Stevens, and those names all make sense. But Donovan belongs on any short list. For proof, consider this: Florida had just five NCAA tournament appearances and one SEC championship in the program’s 77-year history before Donovan arrived in 1996. Since his arrival, the Gators have made 11 NCAA tournaments, three Finals Fours and won two national championships, and they've won four SEC regular-season titles and three SEC tournament titles.

Bottom line, I don't know if Donovan will really lead Florida "for years to come."

Again, that's not necessarily what the extension means.

But I do know this: He's been damn-good leading Florida since the moment he got to campus.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: December 6, 2011 11:49 am

Florida's guards remain a double-edged sword

Matt Norlander

If you aren’t an only child, then you know what I’m about to describe.

When you’ve got a brother, or a sister, or a couple of brothers or sisters (or some combination of siblings) it’s a wonderful thing. Growing up with them truly is one of the greatest gifts anyone could ask for. Those who grow up solo miss out on a linkage that would take so much longer to describe than this blog post will allow.

But you know what? Your bros and sisses can be real pains in the a--, too. There’s resentment that builds up over years of fights and competition and all the other dynamics that make families the haywire mess of dysfunction we all know so well. But most times, no matter the faults, you accept your siblings, issues and arguments and all. It’s because you have no choice to. You were born into this circumstance, and you’d likely never change it.

Kenny Boynton and Erving Walker are family at Florida. And they are the brothers with the problems. The ones who can make a situation harder than it needs to be. But Florida’s going to have to learn to live with them. Just how it’s going to be.

The Gators got good news Monday. Erik Murphy is expected to return for Wednesday’s home game against Arizona. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll be back for the game after that. With Murphy, Florida’s a much different team. Plus, Brad Beal won’t be asked to play the 4, something he had to do against Syracuse. Beal had a bad offensive night in that role. Murphy’s unlike any other player they have, and with him, the guards aren’t looked to as much for offense.

But it doesn’t mean Boynton and Walker won’t still seek to give Florida that offense as much as they can.

On about eight occasions last Friday night I watched those two put up a shot or make a play that was an “oh, no!” kind of moment. Half the time, that sequence was a quick-trigger 3. On some occasions, the 3 feel through the hoop. I turned to SI.com's Andy Glockner and we exchanged looks of acknowledgment: that’s so Boynton. And so Walker. That’s so Florida. It’s who they are. It’s how they’ll lose and how they’ll win more times than not this season. It’s what happened last year, and it’s why Florida made it to the Elite Eight, before falling to a less-talented Butler team.

A similar fate awaits the Gators this year, I think.

You can’t deny the numbers right now, though. In fact, it’s a good sign — Florida’s scoring almost 1.2 points per possession, the best in college basketball right now (according to KenPom.com, the national average is .99 points per possession). It’s shooting the ball well (57.5 effective field goal percentage), not turning it over (giving it away on just 17.6 percent of possessions).

Boynton has an O rating of 134.5. That’s really great. Walker’s sits at a firm 123, also fantastic. And to be fair, Walker isn’t taking as many shots as Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario when he’s on the floor. Rosario is also a guy who wants his.

Florida is getting by quite well despite the 5-2 record.

Those two losses have come to Ohio State and Syracuse. North Florida, Wright State, Jacksonville — these are the types of teams UF’s beaten so far. The backcourt play hasn’t been an issue against the patsies. But for as nice as the numbers look, I know what my eyes see. They see players who too often can pass up a 3 out of an offensive sequence because it’s tempting to them like a brownie is tempting to me. I don't think Florida will have issues with 90 percent of its schedule.

In tight moments, I remain skeptical, because the shots can't always fall, especially not when Rosario, Walker or Boynton are bringing our their catapult, convention be damned.

One month into the season, it’s clear Florida can’t change its stripes with Boynton and Walker. I asked Donovan to address his backcourt situation after seven games. He dodged the question like the veteran coach he is. The legitimate question of “How can Florida share the ball with those three?” remains on the table. They’ll win plenty, they’ll win dramatically, but I can’t shake the feeling when the Gators lose, it’s not going to be because on the hands of Patric Young, Murphy or Beal.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: November 30, 2011 11:25 am

Florida's Murphy won't need surgery on knee

By Jeff Goodman

Erik Murphy could be back within the week.

Florida's junior forward won't need surgery on his knee, according to Gators coach Billy Donovan, after it was determined that there was no further damage to his meniscus from an injury he sustained back in high school.

"The meniscus tear was from when he hurt it his sophomore year in high school," Donovan told CBSSports.com. "It looks like this was just a bone bruise."

The 6-foot-10 Murphy, who started the first four games and averaged 10 points per contest, injured the knee in practice last week and missed wins against Jacksonville and Stetson.

Will Yeguete started in Murphy's place and averaged nine points and 10 boards in the two games.

"We're hoping to have him back in a week to 10 days," Donovan said.

Florida plays at Syracuse Friday. There's a chance Murphy could play against Arizona on Dec. 7 in Gainesville.

Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:26 am
Edited on: October 13, 2011 11:32 am

Florida's Rosario answers critics on Gator guards

By Jeff Goodman

Mike Rosario has heard it plenty.

It's basically the only question that everyone asks about this year's Florida Gators.

"How are these guys going to co-exist with just one ball?"

Let's face it: Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton were difficult to watch at times last year - and the year prior - due to their ill-advised shot selection.

Now Billy Donovan is adding two more guards - Rosario (a Rutgers transfer, thus the photo) and talented freshman Brad Beal - to the mix.

Both are known for their ability to score the ball.

"We've heard that a lot," admitted Rosario, who led Rutgers in scoring as a freshman and sophomore prior to transferring to Florida. "But I think it's going to be great for us because we can really make it easy for each other."

Junior big man Erik Murphy has been gushing about Rosario and Beal, how both are extremely unselfish and possess high basketball IQs. Rosario was considered a volume shooter at Rutgers, but much of that was by default - as the Scarlet Knights needed him to score.

But now he realizes he doesn't have to do it all.

"I came here to win," Rosario said. "Everyone knows I can score the ball, but I came here to surround myself with great players."

Rosario said he thinks Donovan will employ a four-guard lineup at times, depending on the matchup, but he also realizes that one of the four guards will likely start on the bench.

"Coach (Donovan) talks to us a lot about sacrifice," Rosario said. "Guys are going to have to be ready to sacrifice."

If the guards do wind up putting team first, this could be a scary group. Beal is a smooth guard in the Ray Allen-mold, Murphy - according to Donovan and Rosario - have been playing with more of an edge this offseason - and Patric Young can be a beast in the paint and on the glass.

"I feel like we have the type of team where we can determine our whole path," Rosario said. "It's really up to us."

Posted on: December 20, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 4:13 pm

Florida continues its inconsistent streak

Posted by Matt Norlander

Sneaky game took place down in Gainesville this afternoon, as newly ranked No. 20 Florida took on the Dolphins from Jacksonville.

I couldn't blame you for forgetting about the game, or simply not caring that it was taking place. After all, it was a 1 p.m. tip on a Monday. (Scheduling conflicts with the women's team caused this to occur.)

But what's this? A 71-68 overtime loss for the Gators? Just the latest confusing result for Billy Donovan's program, which hasn't shown signs of being a legitimate, consistent group in the SEC or on a national scale since the Gators cut down the nets following their second straight national title in 2007. No reason why Florida won't recover rather quickly, but with the talent on this year's team, it really has no business losing games like this. Need I remind you this loss came at home, in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center, where UF was a 97 percent favorite to take down the Fins.

What we have here is the definition of a letdown game. A trap game. Whatever you'd like to call it, Florida fits the definition. After the Gators took seven minutes to score on Kansas State Saturday afternoon, they rallied and took the legs out from underneath the Wildcats, rolling to a 57-44 victory. It was a really, really nice win, even if K-State has questions of its own that linger.

But the good feelings couldn't last. I'm writing this post as the post-mortems on the game are still being scribbled down in Gainesville. We're waiting on response from Donovan, because explanations are needed after losing to a 7-3 Jacksonville team that doesn't have one win against a team rated in the KenPom top 200.

Wonder what practice and prep for 2-8 Radford will be like. That game is 51 hours away.

Florida falls to 8-3 with this loss, which will certainly hurt its power-rating numbers down the road. Could this cost UF a seed line come March? Absolutely. Florida's other two Ls have come to yet-to-lose clubs Ohio State and Central Florida.

Photo: Getty Images

Category: NCAAB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com