Florida coach Billy Donovan has always been reverential about the tradition of Kentucky basketball.
But at SEC basketball media days on Thursday morning, Donovan may have inadvertently stoked the Kentucky-Florida basketball rivalry.
Donovan was asked his thoughts about all-access shows in college sports. While he wasn’t specifically talking about All-Access Kentucky, he shared some of his thoughts of how he would approach an all-access show with the Florida basketball program.
“I do think if you are using it as a recruiting tool, I don’t think that’s right,” Donovan said. “If you are using it in a way to maybe help young young players out there, to see what a college practice, college environment is like … I did an all-access show for coaches to buy so to speak, drills, practices those kind of things.
“Whatever your philosophy is, we’re always selling our programs in one way or other, whether it’s all-access, whether it’s DVDs, whether it’s media days, we’re always selling our programs. For me if was doing something like that, I would want it to be done in a way to represent how we do things at Florida.”
Kentucky’s all-access show has included the announcements of 2013 prospects such as the Harrison twins. It also serves as an “infomercial” of the tradition-rich UK program that just won its eighth national title in school history.
Donovan said he wouldn’t want cameras in the dorm rooms of his players. Donovan also said he thought cameras in practice “could be a distraction for players getting things done.”
“I don’t know if I want our kids days to be interrupted like that because I wanted to necessarily maybe go out and promote the program,” Donovan said. “I think that’s our job as a coach.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari said he “said no” for a month before agreeing to the ESPNU-aired All-Access Kentucky show. Calipari said he checked with and received approval from the SEC office before agreeing to the program.
Calipari said he didn’t do it for recruiting purposes, but for wanting to show Kentucky’s players for who they are.
“They’ve got dreams and aspirations and they are chasing those things,” Calipari said. “People think, well they don’t go to class, they don’t work, they just roll out balls. Now you get a chance to see they had a 3.42 grade-point average and nine players over a B average and you get to see how hard they work and how hard it is to play here. It gives people who didn’t know that opportunity. That’s why we did it.”