Billy Donovan recently returned from leading the USA Men’s U-19 team to a gold medal in the FIBA World Championships. The Donovan led team went undefeated throughout the tournament, extending Donovan’s record as a head coach in International play to 14-0.
Donovan took some time out of his day to meet with the media and update us on the status of some players, as well as talk about the experience of coaching the U-19 team.
- Donovan called the chance to coach the team an “incredible experience.”
- The biggest challenges they faced, in Donovan’s mind, were picking the team and then matching up against some international teams that have been practicing for months, and even up to a year in some cases. The USA team had only 10-12 days of practice after the team was assembled before playing their first game.
- Donovan credited the players for having the right attitude and being mature enough to handle the situation of living in hotels, not speaking the language and adjusting to a different diet than they are used to. The team managed to do all that while still playing basketball at a very high level and achieving their ultimate goal.
- Donovan said that he thinks Michael Frazier will benefit from the experience next season at Florida.
- Will Yeguete entered the practice facility where Donovan was meeting with the media. Yeguete had a bandage around his knee and was walking with the aid of crutches following knee surgery.
- Donovan said that the toughest part for him will be having to sit out for 6-8 weeks while the healing process occurs.
- Yeguete is on schedule to be 100% by the time practice begins in the fall.
- Patric Young also walked into the basketball facilities while we were speaking with Donovan. Young recently had surgery to repair an ankle injury but is also expected to be a full participant once basketball practice begins.
- Kasey Hill is adjusting well to the college life.
- Donovan said that Hill is earning the respect of his teammates. Donovan was quick to note that is the biggest hurdle that a player with his reputation needs to get past when entering a college locker room.
- Donovan said that Scottie Wilbekin is still “not a member of our basketball team for the rest of the summer.”
- Donovan said that he will sit down with Wilbekin before the fall semester but that Wilbekin knows what he needs to do in order to get back on the team.
- Eli Carter is still going through the process of filing an appeal with Rutgers and the NCAA to be granted a waiver which would allow him to play this season.
- Donovan said that he has been staying out of the situation – allowing Carter’s family to handle the matter with the NCAA and Rutgers.
- Finally, there is still no new update on Chris Walker. He has still not been cleared by the NCAA but is working towards that every day.