Billy D on Werner


When Dan Werner didn’t start Saturday against LSU because of the flu, it snapped a string of 70 straight starts for the senior forward.

It also prompted Florida coach Billy Donovan to tweet before the game: “(I) hope people understand what he means to our team.”

Werner had one point and two rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench in Florida’s 72-58 win over the Tigers. But Donovan said Monday that Werner is back practicing this week and will reclaim his starting job for Thursday’s game against Arkansas.

Asked about Werner’s value to the team, Donovan said. ” I think sometimes with Dan people don’t understand the value of things he brings to our team. Dan has never been a stat sheet guy for our team he’s not a guy that you are going to look down at the stat sheet and see 15 or 18 points, 10 rebounds and two or three steals, that’s not who he is.

“But what he is, he’s an incredible help defender, he’s very, very smart, you can put him at any position on the floor, he knows what’s going on.

“I think you know what you are getting, and sometimes as a coach one of the things that can be very difficult is if you have a talented player but you don’t know who is coming day-to-day.”
Werner hasn’t fulfilled the offensive promise that was projected when he earned Mr. Basketball Honors in New Jersey after shooting more than 40 percent from 3-point range at Christian Brothers High in Long Branch, N.J.

Donovan made some early comparisons to Matt Bonner because of Werner’s ability to pass and shoot the ball outside as a big man. But Werner had never shot better than 35.7 percent from 3-point range in a season and is currently mired in a 2-for-23 shooting slump from beyond the arc.

“When we were recruiting Dan, we had (Joakim) Noah, we had (Al) Horford, we had (Corey) Brewer, we had Marreese Speights. We really had a lot of size in our frontcourt and then with those guys leaving we thought Dan would be a great complement as a spot-up shooter and he could play off some people, a good passer.

“And probably through our recruiting, he’s been put into a situation this last couple of years where he’s had to endure a lot for our team to get to that level. And there has been a lot on his plate. But I always respect and admire and appreciate his attitude and the way that he tries.”


  1. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. I grow every so weary of the spin this man puts on the decisions he makes. I would rather him just say, “I like Werner and as long as he is on my team he is going to start and play regardless of the results.” I am insulted, miffed, and pissed when he essentially tries to tell Gator Nation: “don’t believe your eyes…believe me.” Our eyes see Werner missing his shots, but not scoring inside. Coach compares him to other front court Gators, but does not chain him to the low block where all of our other front court players, with the exception of Bonner played. So he is asking us to ignore the fact he misses threes an is doesn’t take shots around the hoop.

    He is telling us to not pay attention to guys beating him off the dribble constantly for four years, but rather look at the times he helps another player out with there man. Well if he is getting beat 50% of the time and helping stop another player’s man 25% of the time, we are at a net deficit. He probably needs to pay all of his attention on guarding his man one on one, rather than doing with is easier, which is helping another guy guard his man. It looks like great teamwork, when it is really what the pros call “fake hustle.” Making an effort in an area or a way that is really not very taxing to camouflage a lack of effort in the player’s core responsibilities.

    Who are we suppose to believe Kevin? Billy or our lying eyes? I don’t think a coach has gotten away with more guff than Billy, taking advantage of the unquestioned devotion of Gator fan. After 3 1/2 years Donovan should not have to explain the value of a player. It should be clear. If it is not, the coach is selling the fans a bill of goods. This is not football, where one could miss the value of a player who does not have the ball. But in hoops a player can’t hide. His assets and liabilities will be pretty clear to even a layman.

  2. Gatorsidney-I think I’ll take Coach Donovan’s word on basketball matters. I agree with your comment that the coach shouldn’t have to explain the value of a player and IMO he doesn’t have to. Dan hasn’t been a super star but he’s been a solid player for this team since he’s been here. I guess Donovan looks at these message boards from time to time and realizes that fans typically aren’t smart enough to see beyond who is shooting the ball to see everything else going on on the court.

  3. Gatorsidney…you ramble way too much about nothing! Why don’t you learn to write more effective, with cohesive and concise thoughts. Allow me to demonstrate you moron; I don’t know how long you’ve been a Gator, or if you even are one, but are you aware of the state of UF hoops prior to Billy D’s arrival? If Billy D says that Werner’s value to the team can’t be measured by stats, then so be it. I’m sure Billy’s hops IQ is off the charts compared to yours. So shut up and enjoy a competive team and SEC season!

    Concise enough for you Gatorsidney???

  4. Werner is not a smart player. That was obvious when he let a South Carolina player get behind him in the last 2 seconds of the game last year for the full court pass.

    As bas as Werner looks, when Tishman gets in I think he looks very good. And yet he never sees the court.

  5. I believe the last word of Gatorsidney’s remarks “layman” says it all. I tend to trust the coach who has 2 national championship rings on his fingers over a “layman”. Dan has done nothing but represent this university with class and I’m proud he is a Gator.

  6. Gatorsidney’s comments are right on. Apparently he sees Werner as I see him and doesn’t appreciate the misplaced affection from Biily D. Werner doesn’t rebound when in a crowd, is a poor shot blocker, doesn’t put pressure on his man when in the paint, can’t really shoot & make 3’s with regularity, makes more errant passes than good ones, and just the opposite of what Billy said…..doesn’t have an awareness on the court.

    It appears Billy is doing right speaking PR so one of his players won’t loose any more confidence and hurt the team more. Does anyone wonder why Werner is always on the court at the end of the game? Because there is really no one better to replace him. This goes to the talent level of this team and the coach’s judgment of talent of recruits.

  7. It is quite humorous to see people trying to defend Dan Werner and Billy D on this topic. It can’t be any more clear that Billy is doing and saying these praiseful things regarding “Thunder Dan’s” game in order to help his fragile mental state. Dan Werner’s game is not a mystery, the way he plays and is playing right now he would be lucky to start on a Division 2 team . . .let alone 2 time national champ Division 1 team. The holes in his game are so obvious that its hard to blame him . . .and that is where I put the blame on our Coach Donovan. Dan is put in situations and playing in a game that is too fast for him, too athletic, and catches him flatfooted every other play. However, who else is Billy gonna sub in? We have average talent on the team that lives and dies by if our 3 pointers go in (a 5ft 7in soph guard is our best player.) This is a senior that’s supposed to lead, improve, and make the “big play” when we need it. Billy Donovan isn’t a god . . .you don’t have to follow his words like a mindless nomad.I Agree with GatorSidney 100% and for the above poster who thinks Dan has a successful NBA career you know nothing about the game of basketball (no offense).

  8. Boobirds,

    Two national championships.

    Gator Sports really are better off without fans like you. Please don’t show up at games. The players, team and real fans will be fine with a smaller crowd.
    …come on Gators, get up and go.