Florida coach Billy Donovan will miss a chance to watch his oldest son, Billy, play this weekend for Catholic University.
The tip for Catholic’s basketball game against Goucher College in Baltimore, Md, is 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Gators are due to arrive in Washington, D.C., for its Sunday game against American around that time.
“My wife is going to go up there and watch him play on Saturday and I’ll get a chance to see him Saturday night when we get in and he’ll come to the game (against American),” Donovan said. “Actually during the final exam, we have a 10-day period, 11-day period with exams. With our practice schedule I’m going to be able to go back up there again and see him play.”
The younger Donovan, a former standout at St. Francis High in Gainesville, has yet to score his first collegiate basket for Catholic. He’s played in three of Catholic’s first five games, averaging four minutes per games for the Washington D.C.-based school.
But Donovan said his son is enjoying the experience of being away at school for the first time.
“He loves it,” Donovan said. “He’s doing really, really well. I got a chance to watch his second exhibition game, I got a chance to go up to Notre Dame and see him play against Notre Dame which was great to see him and just amazing that he was already in college.”
Even though his minutes are limited, Donovan said his son is keeping a positive attitude.
“I get the other side of it as a parent where you’ve got someone who is playing not as much as they’d like to or want to,” Donovan said. “That’s part of the growing up and maturing process he has to go through and get better. So but he loves the team, loves his teammates, the coaches, the school, he’s very happy.”
Donovan said it’s something he can now tell other parents that are concerned with their son’s playing time issues.
“Absolutely, I can tell everybody now, hey I’ve got one now going through the same thing,” Donovan said. “He understands, which is good, that there are a couple of guys in front of him that are older than him that are seniors that, you know, his job and his responsibility this year will be to back up.
“He’s playing behind their best player who is their leading scorer. I look at it the other way like going against him in practice, because he’s one of the better players in your league, utilize that time to make him better and yourself better.”
— Donovan said he’s not contemplating changes in the starting lineup, but is considering who comes out to start the second half. Slow second-half starts against Florida State and Morehead State in recent games have Donovan concerned. “Maybe we need to start in the second half with our most energized, high-energy players and let’s just throw them out there and set a tone the first two to three minutes of the second half,” Donovan said.
— In reviewing the game film against UCF, Donovan broke down all of UF’s 64 offensive possessions. There were 14 turnovers. Of the 50 shots attempted, Donovan said that 20 were bad shots. “It’s not just one guy,” Donovan said. “It’s our whole entire team. Just the decision making, shot selection, time place score just the decisions to shoot the ball … When you’ve got some older guys right now, they’ve got to be a little bit more in tune. You take 14 turnovers and 20 bad shots, 34 of your 64 possessions are really, really bad. That’s more than half of your possessions.”
— Donovan, on Chandler Parsons’ recent funk (he’s averaging five points per game with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 8 to 10 over his last three games): “Sometimes it’s a lot more difficult to deal with and handle success,” Donovan said. “And he went through a period where his sophomore year was maybe somewhat disappointing. I think last year he grew and matured in a great, great way. And I think sometimes it’s easy when you have that kind of success to say I’ve got this figured out right now. And I’m not saying he is taking that kind of approach. But how he handles the attention, the expectations, some of those things are going to be really, really critical for him going forward for himself our team and his role.”