After addressing the media on Wednesday, Florida coach Billy Donovan said he’ll be spending the next three weeks on the road recruiting.
Though Donovan didn’t rule out the possibility of adding a player for the 2013 roster, he said most of his focus will center around the 2014 and 2015 classes. Florida has room for one more scholarship player for the 2o13-14 season.
“Right now, we would look at that,” Donovan said. “From a transfer situation, there is no one we’re necessarily involved with. I’ll be on the road (Thursday). We’ll go out from noon until Sunday. Most of my time will be spent on guys finishing up their junior year, finishing up their sophomore year (of high school). They’ve added some dates for us where we can go to some AAU events to watch some guys play so I’ll do a lot of that. So the next three weeks, I’ll be out on the road.”
The Gators have 12 scholarship spots filled with the addition of transfers Dorian Finney-Smith, Damontre Harris and incoming freshmen Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. Donovan has had success on the transfer market of late with Mike Rosario (Rutgers) and Vernon Macklin (Georgetown) both helping lift Florida to Elite Eight seasons.
Some notable players on the transfer market include Memphis forward Tarik Black and Virginia Tech guard Robert Brown. But Donovan said that he prefers having some kind of connection with a player before taking him in as a transfer. For example, Donovan recruited both Harris and Finney-Smith out of high school. Macklin had a strong relationship with former Florida assistant coach Rob Lanier.
“You’ve got to evaluate the whole situation,” Donovan said. “I don’t think you can just sit there and say, ‘OK, we’re just going to go out there and take a bunch of transfers,’ because it’s got to be a good fit and someone we know and feel comfortable with.”
– Donovan said he was happy that his mentor, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, won his second career national title when the Cardinals knocked off Michigan. He was unable to attend the national title game in Atlanta in person, but offered his congratulations over the phone. Pitino became the first coach in college basketball history to win national titles at two different schools (his last came in 1996 with Kentucky) and was inducted in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend. “The Hall of Fame was probably long overdue for him,” Donovan said. “I felt like maybe he should have been inducted a while ago, but certainly he got inducted now and I’m very happy for him for that and then I think at this stage and point in time for him in his career to win a national championship at two different schools was phenomenal.”
– Donovan said none of UF’s current players have approached him about wanting to transfer to other schools. The Gators lost one player to transfer last offseason, forward Walter Pitchford (Nebraska). Other notable transfers who left Florida in recent seasons included forward Kenny Kadji (Miami, 2009), forward Allen Chaney (Virginia Tech, 2009), forward Eloy Vargas (Miami Dade College, Kentucky, 2009), guard Ray Shipman (UCF, 2010) and guard Jai Lucas (Texas, 2008).
– Lake Highland (Orlando) High junior guard Joel Berry, a North Carolina commitment, was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball for the second straight year. Berry edged out UF incoming freshman Chris Walker, who finished second. Kasey Hill, a Eustis native, was not eligible because he plays for Montverde Academy, which isn’t a part of the Florida High School Athletic Association.
– Here’s the full video of Donovan’s season wrapup press conference, courtesy of Gatorvision.tv