Florida coach Billy Donovan addressed a variety of topics on Monday’s Southeastern Conference men’s basketball coaches teleconference.
On Florida building through transfers, with six transfers on UF’s current roster: “When you’ve got a high school player going through the recruiting process there is so many things coming at them and they don’t have any level of experience playing in college, so they don’t know what maybe college life is like or getting acclimated to a team, a new environment, new coaches, weightlifting, tutoring, academics, there’s a lot that goes into these guys playing. Sometimes, guys don’t make the best choices in terms of what is going to make them happy, and I think when you have a guy transfer in, there’s just a different level of maturity, a different level of understanding because they’ve got a pretty good foundation to really have an idea of what’s important to them and what’s going to make them happy.”
On recruiting transfers: “You always want to get to the core of why a kid is transferring because in a lot of ways their problems that they may be enduring at one institution are not going to go away at another one. The things that they are going to be required to do on the court may be the same at the next place they go to. I think trying to figure out why a young man wants to change would be really important to me.”
On coaching Team USA to a gold medal for the third straight season last week in the FIBA Americas 18-under tournament: “USA basketball did a really good job bringing in a lot of talented players … The one thing that you see is when you are competing for something bigger than yourself and you’re representing our country, most of the guys put their egos aside and they try to compete and win because they understand they are playing for a pretty big cause as it relates to playing nationally or internationally. And I think when they get an opportunity to play on a team like that, they understand the standard on what USA basketball is trying to do globally in the game of basketball.”
— Not all coaches in the league are pleased with the current state of transfers in college basketball. Georgia coach Mark Fox said transfers are at an “alarming level” and said it’s something the National Association of Basketball Coaches is looking into: “Sometimes transfers are done with good reason, maybe for more playing time or less pressure of whatever, it’s a right thing to do when a kid transfers,” Fox said. “But I think that there’s a number of transfers now where it appears to be a bit unhealthy …. I don’t think it’s anything that any coach wants to make a living on. I think everyone wants players that are happy and staying and developing.” Added LSU coach Johnny Jones: “It will be addressed through the NCAA and I think coaches are in agreement that when a kid does transfer to make it mandatory that they sit out a year.”
— South Carolina coach Frank Martin doesn’t want to hear that the SEC is down league. The league had two teams (Florida and Kentucky) reach the Final Four in 2014 for the first time since 2006. Though the league only had three NCAA Tournament bids in 2014, all three (including Tennessee) made it as far as the Sweet 16: “I’m tired of it,” Martin said. “I think it’s disrespectful to the coaches in the league. I think any time you try to convince Billy (Donovan) or Cal (Kentucky coach John Calipari) or (Arkansas coach) Mike Anderson, all guys who have tremendous success in college basketball … it’s disrespectful and untrue.”