This week is apparently the week that Billy Donovan locks up with the Gators for a long time with a new contract. He’s already locked up Jai Lucas and now he’s trying to finish the recruiting class strong with Patrick Patterson. The momentum for Gator basketball has never been better, fans are talking hoops deep into May, a real sign of what Billy has done at Florida. Last week ESPN.com had UF as the fourth best program over the last ten years and it would have been higher if the discussion was just the previous five years.
I do think the NBA will continue to contact Donovan and his agent (Career Sports and Entertainment) about possible openings. In Orlando many think the Magic will fire Brian Hill and make a run at Donovan. Although Hill has not been fired as of yet, I do think the Magic will contact Donovan’s people. There are a lot of positive things for both Billy and Orlando if they were to get together, but it seems unlikely. Orlando is building a new arena and needs a boost of fan support and bringing Billy would create some buzz. The Magic have a young nucleus and finished 40-42 this past season which would be a better situation for a new coach than going to a rebuilding project like Memphis. With all that said I think Donovan stays in Gainesville, for now. I do think someday Billy will take his ball and go to the NBA. It is a new challenge that has to interest the coach who did play in the NBA and has many friends in the league.
Don’t know if you noticed, but Matt Bonner is on the bench for the San Antonio Spurs. If they win the NBA title the Gator “mojo” will still be alive and kicking … There will be NBA draft camps coming up and it appears that the 0-Fours are going to do very well. Phoenix is very interested in Al Horford and with them getting Atlanta’s pick he makes a lot of sense for the Suns. He could be a poor man’s Amare Stoudemire and play a few years with Steve Nash. You can start looking at the six spot to see where Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer may go and neither should last past eleven. Joakim’s stock is going back up and teams that need a big man that can run include Portland, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Also with camps and workouts still ahead most mock drafts now have Taurean Green in the second round. This is good considering he was off the radar for most “experts” a couple of months ago. Sacramento, Golden State and the Lakers are all looking for young point guards.
Florida football coaches are out spring recruiting and defensive line is certainly another point of emphasis in the state. Javontae Boyd plays defensive tackle at St. Pete Northeast. The Vikings have some Florida connections with former quarterback Jay Austin on staff. Austin was recruited by Spurrier but left after a season to go to Louisville … I also hear the Gators spent two hours at practice watching FSU commit Moses McCray. The orange and blue are not going to give up on him easily … Torrey Davis may be close to qualifying but I hear he needs to get in shape if he is going to play right away at UF. He apparently has added a lot of weight and will need some work when he gets on campus.
Last week I wrote about the impact of Tim Tebow and how I think it will help the Gator offense this season. I have gotten a lot of feedback with some good debate and questions. One final reason that I think Tebow is a weapon in today’s college game is the safety position on defense. The last five years defenses have dropped a safety in the box and actually had him responsible for backside gaps in the run game in some systems. With Tebow’s threat to run teams will have to account for him on every snap which sometimes puts them in a bind schematically. With the right call against the right defense on any given play UF could score big.
Urban Meyer will be in Central Florida Friday and I am looking forward to hearing coach speak. The one thing that has actually been a positive about the “downsizing” of Gator meetings for Meyer has been the fact that his seven speeches could all be a bit different because there are not as many this year. Usually by this time his speech has been disclosed on the internet and kind of steals some of the suspense of actually hearing it live. Coach has been busy recruiting and it looks like it’s going to be a huge crowd in Kississimee.
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