Gator Men's Hoops Prepares For Tennessee

Published: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 4:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 17, 2005 at 4:45 p.m.

University of Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan Weekly Media Luncheon Transcript:

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Coach Billy Donovan will lead the Gators against Tennessee on Wednesday

Photo By UAA

"We're playing against a team on Wednesday in Tennessee that, a lot like most teams in our league, has three really good scorers. They have Watson and McFadgon in the backcourt - and Crump has made great strides in his career, establishing himself as one of the better frontcourt players in our league.

They are shooting the ball incredibly well from behind the three-point line with the addition of Lofton - and Patterson , who sat out last year. Bradshaw is back, Hendrix can come off the bench and with Wingate, there are two more frontcourt players.

They are a very talented team. They had a tough game against Vanderbilt. But I think everyone understands that Vanderbilt has a remarkable ability, with the way their team is designed, to shoot threes.

Outside of that game, they beat Mississippi State at home, they went on the road and won at Georgia and they certainly had a chance to win the game against South Carolina on Saturday night. In my opinion, the Vanderbilt game is a little misleading of how Tennessee has been playing."

On beating Tennessee at home last year but losing on the road:

"If you want to go on the last time we played them, Tennessee beat us pretty handily in Knoxville.

I don't think 365 days has had any bearing on our team's mindset. We have five freshmen who weren't apart of that team.

Our guys understand who they are and we will have to play exceptionally well to give ourselves a chance to win.

What happened (in Gainesville) last year has no bearing, because they beat us the last time we played them."

On the balance of the Southeastern Conference:

"Part of the reason why the RPI isn't as strong in our league is because of what our league has done against top-25 teams going into January.

I've felt like our league has always been balanced since I've been here.

There was a time when I was at Kentucky as an assistant that we knew if we went out and played pretty well, we would have an opportunity to win.

I don't think that is the case anymore. Our league is regularly getting six teams into the tournament and that's a sign of a well-balanced league."

On the team's 3-0 SEC start:

"We have a long way to go. We aren't even a quarter of the way through the season.

I'd rather be 3-0 than 0-3. But anything that has happened over the last two weeks doesn't make a difference anymore because we have to play again on Wednesday."

On Anthony Roberson:

"Anthony has made some very good decisions in terms of when to shoot and when not to shoot.

I always try to look at his field goal percentage from the three-point line and from inside the three-point line.

If you look at his stats right now, I think he is shooting about 52-percent from the three-point line and about 52-percent from the field.

That's a pretty good indication to me that he is taking good shots. If you take the Auburn and Vanderbilt games, his shooting percentage is higher than that because he was 3-for-10 against Arkansas.

As long as Anthony is taking good shots, we need him to be aggressive offensively and to try and score.

I think Anthony is playing very well, and he didn't have a turnover in the Vanderbilt game. To me, that's a positive.

He's had some pretty decent looks and he's done a good job of working to get himself open.

For our team right now, he has to continue to be aggressive. Is he a point guard or not a point guard? He's a basketball player.

I'm not going to get wrapped up in positions all the time because there are times when I have him, Lee Humphrey and Taurean Green on the floor together.

We have to take advantage of what those guys have. Anthony's done a good job in the last two games. But today is a new today and Wednesday's a new day.

It's a matter of him continuing to understand why he's been able to score like he has and what teams may try to do in the future to take him out.

Anthony has always been a good player for us and has steadily evolved.

When he came in as a freshman, we had a very experienced backcourt. He was a McDonald All-American and had to wait his turn.

I told Anthony when Brett (Nelson) was struggling a little in January of his senior year that I was going to relieve some pressure on Brett and start him.

But Anthony said `No, coach. Start Brett. He's a senior and he's been here longer. I'm fine, I'm only a freshmen.'

That's the type of kid Anthony is. Then he broke into the starting lineup and played the two spot his freshmen year.

That team won 25 games and last year was his first year being strictly a point guard.

Roberson is a great player, a great kid, he does everything I've asked him to do, and I've really enjoyed coaching him.

I wish more people would ask me what it's like to coach him than (nitpicking his playing style)."

On Al Horford:

"The biggest thing with Al - which I've tried to get across to the rest of the freshmen - is that he is like a sponge.

He absorbs everything we say and it has helped him where he lacks in experience.

He is a highly energized guy, he's highly motivated and he's a tremendous worker.

He understands who he is and I would agree that he probably has a good basketball IQ and knows what he needs to do to be effective for us."

On developing a scoring mentality:

"When you have a guy like Al Horford, with the make-up he has, he is going to become a really good scorer and a better player because of his mentality.

When you take guys of equal talent level coming out of high school, what separates one guy from the next is their mentality.

Talent does not make you effective in any sport, it's a piece to the puzzle that gives you an opportunity.

To me, what makes you an effective athlete is your mentality and mindset."

On Lee Humphrey:

"Lee is not the most athletically-gifted guy. He is a phenomenal three-point shooter and he understands his roll.

He does what he can do in games to be effective and productive for us. He's a very good defender, but I've had to push him to be a little more aggressive offensively.

He has done a nice job in the absence of Matt Walsh stepping in and giving us the threat to score."

On various practice methods to motivate his players:

"What Buzz (Peterson of Tennessee) is doing by (taking away his players' practice jerseys) is making them understand that to put on the Tennessee uniform is special and means something, and that there is a level of expectation that he has inside his program.

I've never done that. I elect to get them up at five o' clock in the morning and practice.

Sometimes I'll say `Well you don't want to practice today like we are supposed to? OK, we'll do it at five o' clock in the morning, or one o' clock in the morning then.'

A lot of coaches do things like that, and it's all about a coach's personality. I've been fortunate with the kids I've had at Florida and haven't had to do that very often."

On Matt Walsh's recovery:

"Matt's healing process is going very well. He's been able to do some non-contact things with jogging and some shooting.

He has not participated in any practices at this point in time. He has been able to run straight ahead without any pain and has been able to shoot.

The biggest thing will be if he can play in contact situations. Matt's healing process and rehabilitation of his ankle is going very well.

I don't think his recovery will take the four to six weeks we talked about, I think it will be a little sooner than that."

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