UF MEN'S BASKETBALL
Notebook: Donovan faces another ex-assistant in Ostrom
Published: Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 9:54 p.m.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Another Elite Eight means another chance for Florida to face a team with a former assistant coach on the opposing bench.
In 2012, it was against Louisville, when former UF assistant coach Richard Pitino was on the bench with his dad (Rick Pitino) when the Cardinals knocked off the Gators 72-68.
This time, the Gators will face Dayton assistant Tom Ostrom, who was a UF assistant under Billy Donovan from 1998 to 2004. Ostrom also worked as an assistant under current UF assistant coach John Pelphrey at South Alabama (2004-07) and Arkansas (2007-11).
Ostrom said he spent 25 minutes catching up with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley on Thursday.
“Very, very fond memories of that place,” Ostrom said of his time at Florida. “That's where I started and there's lifelong relationships with people there. Obviously my feelings for Billy are well documented, so yeah it's an emotional time.”
Whether Ostrom's familiarity with any of UF's tendencies will factor into the outcome of Saturday's game remains to be seen. For example, Richard Pitino convinced his dad to get out of zone in the second half and more aggressively guard UF's pick-and-roll actions in Louisville's second-half comeback against the Gators. But Richard Pitino had been on UF's staff more recently (2009-11) than Ostrom.
“Some of what (UF) does has changed, some of it hasn't,” Ostrom said. “Billy's teams are always going to be very, very well coached, they are always going to be fast. You are gonna see a ton of ball screens. They are going to share the ball.”
Pelphrey was unavailable to talk because he was busy scouting film of Dayton on Friday. But Florida assistant coach Matt McCall recalled Ostrom being on staff when he was UF's student manager from 2002-04. McCall said Ostrom gave him a hard time when he was younger but says he's one of the “most loyal guys in the business.”
Asked about Ostrom's familiarity with UF, McCall said: “He hasn't worked here in a long time. Our personnel is a bit different. The things we run on offense is obviously different. The way we played on defense is obviously different. So I don't know if it's an advantage.”
Dayton coach Archie Miller also downplayed Ostrom's familiarity with UF and Pelphrey factoring into the game. Miller hired Ostrom to join his staff in 2011.
“Tom's experience with Florida, you know, was a long time ago,” Miller said. “The big thing nowadays is not so much what they do, it's their personnel. Personnel is such an amazing thing when you watch teams from year to year. It's never the same.”
Hill's big night
Florida freshman point guard Kasey Hill joined select company on Thursday night. In finishing with six points, six rebounds and 10 assists in UF's 79-68 win over UCLA, Hill became just the fourth freshman to record 10 assists in an NCAA Tournament game.
The others — NBA Hall of Fame point guard Magic Johnson (Michigan State, 1978), future NBA Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd (California, 1993) and Keith Gatlin (Maryland, 1984).
“It was just reading the pick and rolls each time I came down the court,” Hill said, when asked about his high assist total. “I didn't really plan it out. I was just trying to read it and react.”
Oh Brother, where art thou?
Miller was asked if he tried to call his older brother, Arizona coach Sean Miller, to pick up any tendencies on Florida. Arizona is heading to an Elite Eight matchup with Wisconsin on Saturday in the West Region (Anaheim, Calif.) after knocking off San Diego State on Thursday night.
“He doesn't talk to me right now,” Miller said, with a chuckle. “He's not helping me. He's trying to do his own thing.”
Arizona played Florida in a home-and-home series in 2011 and 2012, losing in overtime at the O'Connell Center and winning in the closing seconds at the McKale Center in Tucson, Arizona.
“Florida, you see them a lot on television,” Miller said. “You understand kind of what they're about. You understand their pedigree right now. They're the No. 1 overall seed for a reason. They've won 29 games in a row. I don't know who can help me, to be honest with you.”