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Monday January 14, 2013Quotes and Video from Head Coach Billy Donovan's Monday Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida head coach Billy Donovan met with the media for his weekly press conference on Monday, wrapping up the Gators’ 2-0 start to SEC play, updating players’ injury status and talking about the upcoming game at Texas A&M. Below are the full quotes from the press conference.

 

Florida Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Donovan

January 13, 2013

 

On Casey Prather’s injury and if it is a high ankle sprain

“They think so right now, that’s what it is. I don’t think it’s a real severe high ankle sprain. Those things can obviously take a long time to heal. I think our best guess right now is 10-14 days, so we’ll see how he progresses through treatment, but I would say this week he is definitely out.”

 

On Missouri and Texas A&M

 “I said when we expanded, from an academic standpoint and an athletic standpoint; we have two really good universities, quality programs. Last year, Missouri was a team that was ranked in the top five for almost the entire time. They’ve had great basketball tradition there for a long time. I think the same thing can be said about Texas A&M. We played them last year. They were a ranked a team. Khris Middleton, when we played them, was dealing with some knee issues so he was kind of in-and-out. I think both of those programs from a basketball perspective bring great value to our league.”

 

On if Texas A&M defeating Kentucky caught their attention

“I think it’s the league and I don’t think that really has anything to do with anything. I think our guys understand this league, regardless of who we’re playing at home or on the road, it’s going to be a challenge. Certainly, any time you win a game on the road in this league or any league for that matter it is always a positive. Them getting a win on the road this past Saturday was big for them. I think our guys understand each and every game when we play and whoever we play, you’re always going to have difficult challenges. The league play, in general is just that difficult.”

 

On Prather’s play this season

“I think he was really playing well. I really do. He started the year with the concussions and it took him a while to get in the flow. He’s been playing really good basketball. He played really well at Yale and I thought he played very well against Georgia. Then, I thought in, at least in the first half, he was a real bright spot for us. We were having a hard time scoring in the first half against LSU. He really gave us a spark to close out the half right before he got hurt. It’s unfortunate. He’s had to deal with some different things throughout the course of his career, but thank God it’s not a severe high ankle sprain when you’re out for a month to six weeks. It’s something that he can hopefully get back from. The most bizarre thing, usually when you see a guy go over on an ankle sprain, you usually see the guy twist his ankle. The bizarre part, he kind of just landed on his foot and it wasn’t anything that looked on film to be too bad, but initially, I was told at halftime that he might have broken something, but, obviously the x-rays came back negative. We will miss him because he is a versatile player and he has played well for us so far.”

 

On if he feels like the injuries are getting out of the way early before the crucial part of the season

Prather’s concussion, so to speak, was a bizarre play. Patric Young came down with a rebound and hit him on the head. Obviously, in practices or in games, that’s happening all the time, you just happen to get hit in difficult spot.  Most of the injuries that have taken place for our team have been in games. Mike Rosario gets hurt in the Georgia game with his ankle. Will Yeguete, his tendinitis, so to speak, is something he has to battle. I think that is normal, a lot of guys are dealing with tendinitis. It could be something more than that, we’re going to find that out today. Erik Murphy gets hit against Marquette and is really limited him after that game. Then, he gets hit against Air Force. There have just been these things that are just part of playing. Anytime you step on the floor in practice or in a game, you’re always in a position where something like that can happen. When Scottie Wilbekin broke his finger, you talk about a freak thing, he just reached out for a pass and it hit him the wrong way and broke his finger. That’s just kind of the things that happen.”

 

On Mike Rosario’s status for this Thursday’s game against Texas A&M

“He’s cleared to play. He’s got a Grade 1 Plus ankle sprain. He is cleared to play. Murphy was cleared to play against Yale, he just couldn’t go. Mike Rosario felt like he couldn’t go against LSU, but he’s cleared to practice and cleared to play in the game on Thursday and we’ll see how he progresses.”

 

On if Will Yeguete’s knee issue could be more than tendinitis

I don’t know. I don’t know what else it could necessarily be. I think they want to take an x-ray, just because he has some swelling in his knee. Whether it’s anything more than that, we’ll have to wait and see. I think our first diagnosis by our trainer and doctor did say it was tendinitis, but it could be more than that. What, I don’t know.”

 

On facing Texas A&M this Thursday

“We played them last year, for them at was probably a difficult time because Khris Middleton, who was their best player, was coming off a knee injury. He was kind of in and out with only a game or two under his belt. Elston Turner scored 20 points against us in the game. There will be some things from that game that we can look at in terms of philosophy, but their personnel has changed some, just like our personnel has changed some. They are a team that is playing very good basketball and they’ve had some good quality wins. Going on the road there on Thursday will be, without question, a great challenge.”

 

On how Dillon Graham figures into the game plan

One thing I respect about Dillon Graham is his ability to pass the ball. I think for him against a team like LSU at home, that was creating 12 steals a game, forcing 19 turnovers and with Mike Rosario being out, in terms of a passing and handling standpoint we needed that. It could be totally different against Texas A&M. It’s not necessarily him. It could be Braxton Ogbueze or DeVon Walker and as we get deeper into Texas A&M, we’ll figure those things out.”

 

On the league as a whole and how it’s perceived in terms of basketball

“I’ve said this before, one of the things that’s hard is your reputation of the league gets built in November and December. If you look at the teams in our league, Kentucky has a brand new team, Vanderbilt has a brand new team, South Carolina with new coach, and LSU with a new coach. You’ve got a lot of different things that are going on early in the season for a lot of different teams. What ends up happening by what you do in November and December, you get labeled through January and February. I don’t know if you ever get out of that stigma, so to speak. I think it’s unfair. There are teams, even leagues that have had really good Novembers and Decembers and maybe haven’t finished as strong. I think with the teams in our league, they are going to get better because you have a lot of new faces and new coaches. That takes time. It’s not something that happens right away. So, the league ranking nationally, I understand where it’s at maybe right now, but I still think there are teams that are going to get better. I’m always amazed when people talk about a bad loss or a good loss that happened in November. Here it is the middle to end of March for Selection Sunday; they’re talking about a game that took place back in November. I totally understand and agree with the whole body of work, but with the body of work, you have to say that a team progresses.

 

“For instance, when you look at Alabama two years ago, they go 12-4 in the league and have some really difficult losses in November, but were playing as good of basketball as anyone. Same thing could be said for Tennessee last year. Cuonzo Martin is a new coach. He comes in there and their team had some ups and downs and bumps in the road, but all of the sudden, they get into league play and they played as well as anybody. They finished probably higher in the league than we did. They didn’t get to the tournament, but I clearly thought over those two years, that Alabama and Tennessee probably deserved to be in the tournament, but because of what happened in November was enough to overcome their whole body of work. I do think our league will continue to get better.”

 

On if he thinks a bad November and December could lead to a team not getting into the NCAA Tournament

“That has proven to be history that that happens. I think there should be a whole and complete look at the body of work. I think you have to do that when you are playing games, every game matters. I get that, but to say a team in March resembles themselves in November I don’t always think that is fair and equal. But, I also understand that there are results from what happened in November. Clearly, teams are going to get better so as you are looking at our league right now as a coach getting prepared to play game in and game out over a nine-week schedule, if I went back and watched a game from November I could say for every team in our league that they are better today than they were back then. That’s all we are really dealing with as coaches is this team has continually gotten better and improved.”

 

On the quick turnaround between the Texas A&M and Missouri games

“With the television contracts, we are all dealing with Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday games. It’s part of the understanding, so to speak. We’ve had to do this before, we had to do this last year quite a bit and the year before that. You have to go one game at a time. Right now, our full, undivided attention will be on Texas A&M. When that game ends, we have a short period time to get our focus onto Missouri and get ready to play them. Everybody in our league has to deal with that, it’s just the way it is.”

 

On the team’s ability to rebound so well this year after losing Bradley Beal

“There have been three things that have been able to help us overcome that, so to speak. One, when Scottie Wilbekin was out, we went with a big lineup and played Yeguete at the small forward spot. Across the front line with Murphy, Young, and Yeguete, that is our best rebounding team across the front line. That has helped us rebound the ball well.

 

“When we’ve gone with more of a conventional lineup, Michael Frazier proved to be a better rebounder than maybe anybody anticipated. Same thing could be said for Bradley Beal, a year ago. I didn’t know how Beal would be able to come in and rebound the ball in comparison to what Chandler Parsons did the year before. Frazier has proven, when he goes to the small forward spot, he’s a good rebounder. He had seven rebounds in the game against LSU. That’s been something that has helped us.

 

“The third piece of it is Casey Prather and his versatility. He is out right now and Texas A&M is a really good rebounding team. With Prather being out, that game becomes that much more of a point of emphasis for us because Prather has played the small forward and power forward spot. When you have Prather, Yeguete, and Frazier at the small forward spot out there, we are a team that can compete on the glass. This will be a game where we could be big against Texas A&M with Yeguete, Murphy, and Young. This also could be a game where we have three guards out there.”

 

On Texas A&M’s Elston Turner

“He is a really good player. He scored 20 points against us last year. He can do it a lot of different ways. The thing that was so impressive to me about him scoring in the game against Kentucky was, when you see a guy score 40 points the first thing I look immediately, the shot attempts. A guy takes 30 shots and scores 40 points, that is a really not a big deal. When you give a good scorer enough attempts at the basket, they are going to score points. The thing that was impressive to me was his number of shots didn’t even equal the amount of points he scored. He scored 40 points on 19 shots. To me, that is a sign of a very efficient offensive player. You score like that when you get to the free throw line, shoot a high percentage from the three-point line, and you have the ability to play inside the three-point line whether it’s pull-up jumpers, driving to the basket, runners, or floaters. From a scoring standpoint, that game for Turner was pretty efficient at the college level to score 40 points like that.”

 

On if Yeguete will play at Texas A&M

“He will be able to play. We are just trying to find out, diagnosis-wise, if there is anything else going on in there, could it be something more than tendinitis. It could be a lot of different things besides the tendinitis. We are just waiting to see if there is anything else out there. We actually x-rayed Mike Rosario today just to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on inside of his ankle and treat it accordingly, same thing with Erik Murphy. We had his ribs x-rayed to see where he is it at. We will do those things medically just to make sure we are getting our guys the correct treatment and get them back to playing as soon as we can.”

 

On possibly winning his 400th game at Florida this week

“Being here a long time, that stands out. I think, for me, what I would reflect back on is I have been really fortunate to coach a lot of really good players going all the way back to Jason Williams, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Matt Bonner, David Lee, Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh, Al Horford, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Patric Young, and Bradley Beal. I’ve been very fortunate that I have coached some really good quality kids that have been bought into Florida and into winning. Obviously to be able to stay at one place this long in today’s day and age is difficult to do. I think those things from a coaching perspective, any accomplishment or win number is a total reflection on the guys you are coaching.”

 

On if he viewed Florida as a place he could be here this long

“I never believed in having this five-year plan. I just go one day at a time and try to your do job each day. I said this when I first got here, in this program’s history there has been different pockets of some really good success. Whether it was Norm Sloan winning the first-ever SEC championship and going to the Sweet 16 or Lon Kruger’s team going all the way to the Final Four. There have been individual pockets of success inside the program. I think the one thing that I felt that I wanted to try to be a part of and work toward was to try to build a level of consistency for a long period of time. I think even being at Kentucky as an assistant coach and having Kentucky in our league, you look at those programs that have done it for 75 years, such a long period of time. Not to say there haven’t been some ups and downs, every program goes through that. Can you stay consistent? That is the thing that is really challenging and hard is year in and year out trying to maintain that level of consistency since I have been here. It takes a lot of work to be able to do that.”

 

On Kenny Boynton chasing the school record for scoring

“I hope and I mentioned this, maybe after the Air Force game when he moved up the leaderboard there, I think so much in today’s day and age everything is about the NBA. I understand why. I was no different than any player across the country wanting to get to the NBA. I also think there has been a change in philosophy, so to speak, as it relates to individual players. If you don’t get to the NBA as quickly or as fast as possible and you don’t make it in the NBA, people have the tendency to forget a guy’s college career or experience.

 

“I would say that Kenny Boynton, coming off two back-to-back NIT appearances, comes in as a freshman and we get back to the NCAA Tournament. His sophomore year, we go to the Elite Eight. In his junior year, we go to the Elite Eight. Not only does he have these individual accomplishments that he is chasing after, but he has affecting winning a lot for our program. Regardless of what his future holds at the next level, I want for him to work through this experience and say that I got better as a player, we won at Florida, and I am proud of that accomplishment.

 

“There is a great article about players who stayed for four years and have incredible college careers and they almost look at it like a disappointment that they are not doing in the NBA for a 10-year career, which I certainly I hope for all of our players who play in the NBA. We have a lot of players doing that. I hope Kenny Boynton, not only with this milestone, will look at and say I had an incredible career at Florida and have great pride in that and a great sense of satisfaction. I hope he does.”

 

On Bob Knight calling the Texas A&M game and whether he would consider broadcasting in his future

“That will be good. I don’t think so, not right now. Our paths have crossed a lot. When I was at Kentucky, he was at Indiana. There have been different functions where he and I have spent time together. I have always admired him. I like being around him. I enjoy spending time with him. I can’t sit there and say we talk once a week. He was really kind to me. He called after both National Championship games and congratulated us. I always respected him for that and I certainly appreciated that.’

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