Billy D on Tyus


Billy Donovan said that he’s pleased about Alex Tyus’ decision to return and envisions the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Tyus as a power forward next season.

Under that scenario, Donovan said that Georgetown transfer Vernon Macklin and sophomore Kenny Kadji would play center and senior Dan Werner would play small forward. Donovan also said Chandler Parsons could even see some time in the backcourt because of his ballhandling ability and Florida’s potential lack of depth there.

“We’re going to have to move guys down a little bit and I think we’ve got a couple of guys that are skilled enough to do that,” Donovan said.

Donovan also said that playing small forward wasn’t the main issue for Tyus’ initial decision to leave. It was more about Tyus worrying that he would end up at center for the third straight season.

“I think earlier on when he came out of high school there was this
thought that he needed to be a guy that transitioned to small forward,
but I’ve never talked to him about being a small forward,” Donovan said. “He is going
to have to play a position that’s going to help our team win and I
think Alex is willing to do that. I think Alex’ thought was ‘Am I going
to be a center all four years of college? And, I’m not really center and
I’d like a chance to get to do some other things to broaden my game.’ “

“If we went to a big lineup could (playing small forward) happen? Maybe that could happen.”

Donovan spoke for about 20 minutes and took questions at UF’s Community Council Breakfast May Meeting on Wednesday morning. The forthright discussion centered about family, basketball and his ties to the Gainesville community.

Other points I touched on with Donovan after the speech:

on how new assistant coach Rick Pitino Jr. is settling in: “He’s doing great. I’ve known him since he was like four or five years old. I think he’ll be a really, really good addition. And then obviously with me working for coach Pitino and playing for him and Richard coming here he knows how we do things and the style of play and the way we scout and recruit. There’s a lot of similarities there.”

on Eric Bledsoe signing with Kentucky after Florida was once his leading choice: “I don’t know all of the ins and outs of that one.”

on Nick Calathes, and whether he’s leaning on coming back or going to the NBA draft: “I talk to Nick all the time, text back and forth. I really don’t talk much about it. I think he’s going to go through this process and try to figure out where he folds, where he’s projected. I think he’s hoping to be someone that gets into the first round. I don’t think it’s clear whether he is or isn’t a first-rounder. I think that’s what this process is for, to go through some of these workouts and see where he can get to.”