Thursday, March 26, 2009

And Along Those Lines, A Note on the Inevitable Billy Donovan-to-Kentucky Speculation

In three words: Stop being delusional.

Kentucky fans will no doubt begin their rampant discussions about how Billy Donovan is going to come in and save Kentucky basketball. blah blah blah.

Billy Donovan has been a head coach at Florida since 1996. He has 2 national championships and an unbelievable amount of talent in his program. He didn't want to go to the Magic, even though he was tempted for a new challenge. And he COMPLETELY neglected Kentucky the LAST time the job was open.

Seriously Kentucky fans, it's fine to be dissatisfied with Billy Gillispie, who is a PR nightmare and has demonstrated that he can't run much of a balanced team. I don't even think it's ridiculous to suggest that he be fired. But if you think that Billy Donovan has any attachment to the University of Kentucky beyond being an assistant coach there for five years you are out of your gords. He didn't play there, first of all. He did coach there during some very successful years, but he hasn't been there since 1994, and finally, he has an unbelievable recruiting base in Florida and has built the program to a point where he can get just about anyone he wants. Short of the opportunity to coach Kobe or LeBron James, Donovan isn't going anywhere. So please don't even begin the speculation, it's desperate and weak.

This isn't a knock on the tradition of Kentucky basketball, which no one would be foolish enough to fail to acknowledge, it's simply a reality check.


Anything but Gatorade said...

I hear you, Stanimal, but the one hole that Donovan's program has is lack of an audience. The things you cited as reasons Donovan wouldn't leave aren't going anywhere if he moves to another program: his recruits would likely still be his recruits, his championships would still be his championships, and the only talent he'd be leaving right now is Calathes. IF (and I do mean if, not when) he were to come to Lexington, he'd also be getting to fill the one hole that was always there at UF: he'd be getting actual attention from the fans and media. At Florida, he's a sideshow to Mayer.

That said, I don't actually think he's going anywhere, but I don't know any more than anyone else.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I agree 100% with Stanimal (which is shocking in and of itself, let alone 2 days in a row), Eddie Munster is staying in Gainesville. For my money, the object of UK's affection with be Oklahoma State's (and Wildcat through and through) Travis Ford. Warning Commodore fans, I think Ford's departure to Lexington could have potential implications for the Commodores and Kevin Stallings...

Any idea what Bobby's logic is? Comment below...

Stanimal said...

I don't think that's necessarily correct to argue that Donovan's team does not have a fan base that follows him. The O-Dome is one of the toughest places to play in the SEC. Furthermore, he gets a lot of national media attention in positive ways when his team is winning. He might be second fiddle to Meyer in terms of his team at this point, but when he was winning back to back national championships you can't say he wasn't well covered. His team had a down year while Florida football won a national championship, that's the only reason why there might have been less media coverage of his program.

Furthermore, getting intense media coverage and rabid fan bases is not necessarily a good thing, because it can be blown totally out of proportion. What if Billy D. takes on the UK job and he doesn't immediately win national championships? People would be furious all over again. Why leave an already developed recruiting base with minimal pressure and one of the most supportive ADs in the nation?

And one final note, Calethes is not the only talent Billy D. would be leaving at Florida. Chandler Parsons is a pretty good player, he's a sophomore. Kenny Kadji had some great games, he's a freshman. Kenny Boynton is coming in next year who's a top 10 recruit. If you look at their recruiting classes, they are loaded and dangerous, but they are young. That's unfortunate for all of us, but it's the truth.

Douglas James said...

I agree. Long Island's own Billy Donavan would be getting killed right now if he was at UK. All the irrational UK fans would be saying - "Yeah he one two national championships in a row but he just missed the NCAA's for the 2nd straight year! His prime has clearly passed and its time to bring in some new blood" -