When Florida hosts Wisconsin at the O’Connell Center, it will mark a matchup between friends in the college coaching fraternity.
Florida coach Billy Donovan and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan have tried to schedule a game for years. But the two coaches share different philosophies when it comes to player transfers.
Donovan has been liberal in allowing outgoing transfers to go where they want, even allowing former guard David Huertas to transfer within the conference to Ole Miss. Ryan, meanwhile, was roundly criticized last spring about how he handled the transfer of former forward Jarrod Uthoff. Ryan initially has a long list of transfer restrictions for Uthoff that included Florida. Ryan’s restricted list extended to all other Big Ten schools, all other ACC schools, Creighton and Iowa State.
“We had actually reached out to Wisconsin for a release,” Donovan said. “I didn’t know much about him. I think it was (assistant coach) John Pelphrey that wanted to find out, but we never really pursued it so far to getting him here on a visit or those kind of things.”
Ryan’s initial fear was that Uthoff would give away valuable secrets to upcoming 2012-13 opponents. But Ryan eventually lightened Uthoff’s restrictions, and the Cedar Rapids native transferred closer to home at Iowa.
Florida landed two other transfers last spring — South Carolina center Damontre Harris and Virginia Tech forward Dorian Finney-Smith. Harris is recovering from surgery to repair a torn labrum and Finney-Smith is practicing with the Gators. Both Harris and Finney-Smith won’t be eligible to play until 2013-14, per NCAA transfer rules.