Brewer: Donovan made right choice to stay at UF
Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 2, 2014 at 12:06 a.m.
At first, former Florida standout forward Corey Brewer was hoping reports of a reunion with Gators coach Billy Donovan in Minnesota were true.
But as the Donovan-to-Timberwolves rumors died down in the spring, Brewer said he felt the veteran college coach made the right decision to stay in Gainesville.
“If Kevin Love were to stay, it would be a good move for him,” Brewer said. “But with all the uncertainty now, it’s good that Coach D is at Florida.”
Brewer was in Gainesville to host his fifth annual Back 2 Back Youth Basketball Camp to benefit the Corey Brewer Fight Diabetes Fund. The camp, held at Buchholz High, had a record turnout of close to 80 campers.
“Each year, it gets better and better,” Brewer said. “There have been kids that have come for five straight years. A couple of them are graduating (high school), but I’ve told them they’re welcome to come back and work at the camps.”
After leading the Gators to the Final Four for the fourth time in his 18 seasons as coach, Donovan’s name was mentioned in connection in openings with both the Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers. Donovan said in May he was contacted by a couple of NBA teams, but opted to return to UF for his 19th season. Yet Donovan has not completely shut the door on possibly coaching in the NBA, saying the fact that it’s strictly basketball year-round appeals to him.
“If he really wants to go to the NBA, he’ll be a great NBA coach,” Brewer said. “I feel he’s just a great college coach. He did a lot in college and is still doing a lot. And I feel like his philosophies and all the things he emphasizes, would be great in the NBA.”
But Brewer said Donovan would need to have some say in personnel decisions to have success coaching at the next level.
“For him, I think he needs to go to someplace where he would be in control, put the team together the way he wants to put the team together and he’ll do great,” Brewer said.
That’s easier said than done, though Brewer pointed out that his current coach, Flip Saunders, wields that kind of power as coach and team president at Minnesota.
“Stan Van Gundy (coach and GM of the Detroit Pistons), he has a lot of control,” Brewer said. “I’m not saying (Donovan) has to have total control, just more control where he can put the team together he wants. That’s what it’s all about. If he gets his players, his system is amazing.”
Donovan’s motion offense, which relies heavily on pick-and-rolls and ball screens, has allowed a smooth transition for his former players in the NBA. There were 12 former Florida players coached by Donovan on NBA rosters last season, including All-Star center Joakim Noah and rising stars Chandler Parsons and Bradley Beal.
“It prepared me a lot because we ran a lot of pick-and-roll, a lot of down screens,” Brewer said. “Me and Jo played a lot of two-man game, me and Al (Horford) played a lot of two-man game. So when I got to the NBA, everything was easy.
“And we had a lot of plays. When you get to the NBA, you play in the system you play in, but you don’t have as many options as we do with Billy’s offense.”
Some other comments from Brewer at his camp:
— on trade rumors involving teammate Kevin Love and possibly being on the move from Minnesota himself: “It’s more not knowing at this point … they are talking about a Cleveland deal, that means they may go young. I’m not old yet, but I’m not young anymore.” Brewer turned 28 last March. “I’m in that middle,” he said. “I’m in a good position in my career. I know I can play, I’m proven right now, it’s just a matter of what happens. I know I’ll be in a good position to play. It’s just where am I going to be at.”
— on 2014 rookie first overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins coming back to Minnesota for Love: “It would be good, but he’s young, man. He’s going to be a rookie. I feel like in the future, he’s going to be a great player in the NBA. I don’t want to be rebuilding again. I like being in the playoffs.”
— on his son, 5-year-old Kellen (K.B.) Brewer, being one of the campers this week: “He’s good, he plays up, he’s been playing the 6- and 8-year-olds since he was 3 … he’s skinny but he’s fast. If you watch him out there, he runs with all the big kids.”
— on the legacy of being part of UF’s back-to-back national championship teams in 2006 and 2007 and if they get respect as being a great college basketball dynasty: “I wouldn’t say it was shortchanged. People around here, they know. It was the time of our lives and I feel like a lot of people had a lot of fun. I feel like our legacy we left on Florida basketball, everyone knows that we were winners. That’s what it’s all about. We wanted to win. Because not only does it make your college experience better, it makes everybody in Florida, everybody on campus, they had the time of their lives, just like we had the time of our lives and I feel like that’s what it’s all about. That’s what college was all about. We were winning, football was winning. We were winning in everything.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.