Before emerging for postgame interviews following Florida’s 88-86 loss to Georgia, UF coach Billy Donovan chatted with Georgia associate athletic director Frank Crumley.
My guess is they weren’t exchanging Valentine’s Day cards. Instead, Crumley was probably talking to Donovan to try to gauge Virginia Commonwealth coach Anthony Grant’s interest in the Georgia opening.
Grant, Donovan’s former long-time Florida assistant, is 71-23 in two-plus seasons at VCU. He already has a Colonial Conference championship and NCAA Tournament first-round upset against Duke on his resume.
Last year, Grant’s name came up in openings at South Carolina and LSU. But he ended up staying at VCU after South Carolina hired Darrin Horn and LSU hired Trent Johnson.
Georgia could represent a good fit because Grant is a strong recruiter, having delivered players such as Udonis Haslem and Corey Brewer during his tenure at UF. Georgia athletic director Damon Evans said following Dennis Felton’s firing he’s looking for someone that could establish a strong relationship with Georgia’s AAU coaches. During his tenure, Felton couldn’t keep programs such as Georgia Tech and Kentucky from plucking the best talent from the Atlanta area.
But would Grant want to face his best friend, Donovan, twice during the regular season? Some insist Grant not showing strong interest in LSU and South Carolina last season suggests that he is waiting for an opening to emerge in the ACC. Maryland’s Gary Williams, Virginia’s Dave Leito and Georgia Tech’s Paul Hewitt all are on the hot seat.
As for Alabama, Grant said he was “flattered” when reporters from the state asked him about his interest in the program, but said that he was keeping his focus on the VCU season. Alabama is reportedly targeting former UAB and current Missouri coach Mike Anderson as its leading candidate. Current UAB coach Mike Davis’ name also has been mentioned.
Fans interested in watching Grant’s team play can catch VCU against Nevada in a bracket-buster game Friday night (Feb. 20) ay 9 p.m. on ESPU.