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Monday February 4, 2013Quotes and Video from Head Coach Billy Donovan's Monday Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Men’s basketball head coach Billy Donovan held his weekly press conference on Monday and discussed the upcoming game at Arkansas, the team’s defensive identity in comparison to past Gator teams, Erik Murphy’s continued strong play and Will Yeguete’s rebounding ability.

 

Florida Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Donovan

February 4, 2013

 

On continuing to push the tempo in high scoring games

“I think we’ve done a good job. We did it three different times in the game against Ole Miss in the first half where we got up by 18 and the second half we got up by 21 and another time in the second half we got up by 20. We weren’t able to extend that lead; I thought it was for a couple reasons. I think the main reason was (Ole Miss guard Marshall) Henderson. He had some answers when we got out by that amount of points because he made two back-to-back threes when we were up 18 and cut into our lead. I think the same thing ended up happened in the second half when he went 7-for-11. I think our guys have done a good job of continuing to play as a group. I also thought on the offense when they switched and went to the zone, I thought we had some pretty good looks and decent looks but we didn’t make some of those shots. I don’t know what we did during that one stretch when we missed a lot of consecutive three-point shots but I really haven’t noticed or seen in this last game our guys letting up or losing focus or not committed to the process of the next possession. I think they’ve done a pretty good job with that. We were up 17 and he (Henderson) made a three at the end of the game to cut it to 14 but for the most part Ole Miss is a good team. There’s a reason they were 6-1 and obviously they’ve been hit with some injuries which probably hurt their depth but they’ve play very, very good basketball all year long and they’re a good team coming in here. So my expectation going into to the game was not and never is to win by a large margin, it’s to do the things we’ve got to do. But also the things that weren’t talked about with Ole Miss is that Ole Miss scores more points than any other team in the country in the second half. They lead the country in scoring so we knew from an offensive perspective from them, we are going to have to guard them for 40 minutes. They get 80 points a game and they got 64 and in reality it was probably 61 until the last three was made, but for the most part the guys have done a pretty good job there.”

 

On if the team did a good job against Marshall Henderson

“We did a really, really good job. The problem is why they’re a good team is because they have answers in different situations. So if you make a commitment to really jump out there and take away Henderson’s three-point shot you’re leaving (Reginald) Buckner and (Murphy) Holloway open at the basket for slips and for offensive rebounds. So they’re a team that gets more second-chance points than anyone else in our league, so rebounding is a high priority. So how do you keep your block out responsibilities and be able to take Henderson away? And the other thing, too, is you’ve got (Jarvis) Summers and (LaDarius) White who are really good off the bounce, getting into the lane and penetrating. The three threes he (Henderson) made of the seven, we did not do a very good job on where we wanted him to be forced to come out to let the inside and he started that way and a couple times we lost contact with him and he bounced back out on the same side and we got kind of hung up and he made a couple threes like that. The one that we really forced him out, Scottie (Wilbekin) got hit with a screen and did a good job of getting off the screen and challenging the shot. I applaud Scottie’s effort chasing him around and was really, really good but we felt like it was more important playing him that way than giving up the block out responsibilities. We obviously outrebounded them. It wasn’t by a large margin; I think it was only by one. But we didn’t really give up a lot of offensive rebounds and we held them to below 40 percent from the field. So the one number that was probably a little bit high was our three-point defense because of what Henderson did going 7-for-11. The only guy that made a three in the game was him and he made some really difficult ones so you have to give the kid credit. He really shot the ball well.”

 

On confidence of having the ball in Erik Murphy’s hands

“I think like anything else I do think whether it’s (Michael) Frazier, Murphy or any of these guys when they’re open they need to shoot the basketball.  I mean Erik Murphy is shooting over 50 percent from the three point line so when he’s open it helps our team and stretches the defense. I told those guys during one timeout because we had missed nine three-point shots and I knew it was (wearing) on them a little bit, I just told them we needed to keep shooting the ball when we’re open and shoot the ball with confidence. Then we had a stretch there where we made three in a row, (Mike) Rosario made one, then Scottie Wilbekin made one and Murphy made one and we pushed the lead back out. So I have confidence in (Kenny) Boynton, Rosario, Scottie, Murphy and Michael Frazier. When those guys are open, they need to shoot the ball with confidence.”

 

On Murphy’s progression throughout the season

“He’s gotten better around the basket where he’s expanded his game a little bit more. I think last year he was such a perimeter-oriented big guy stretching and shooting threes. I think now he’s gotten much better playing in and around the basket, scoring around the basket so I’ve got confidence in Erik when the ball is in his hands of him scoring when he gets the ball in certain areas of the floor. He’s got to continue to do a better job of passing the basketball and trying to recognize when Patric (Young) is open and getting him the ball maybe a little better than he’s doing. But offensively I think Erik’s played very well for us.”

 

On facing Arkansas after a quick turnaround

“It’s always different when you have a quick turnaround like this. For the first half of the season, it’s always been, for us, a Wednesday-Saturday, now we’re going Saturday-Tuesday. We’ve got probably three or four weeks in a row where we’ll go Saturday-Tuesday. You just have to deal with that. We’ve got two legitimate days to prepare, as does Arkansas. So, most of the time, when you’re playing on a Tuesday, most of the time, you’re dealing with a team that’s got the same amount of time preparation-wise. So, we’re both dealing with the same thing with the Saturday-Tuesday. The Thursday game is a little bit different based on that next Saturday game, what the other team’s had to do.”

 

On Arkansas’ development in its second year under Mike Anderson

“Any time there is a coaching change in this league, there’s always a period of time that a team has to go through from an adjustment standpoint. Mike (Anderson) has done a great job with this team. Probably enough wasn’t made last year about (Marshawn) Powell being out. He was really one of the better players in our league. Even when he was a freshman, he had a great year and battled some injuries, but he’s back playing really well. He gives them another scorer. (BJ) Young is a year older, now a sophomore, absorbed a lot of minutes last year for their team. They’ve probably got better quality of depth, better quality of experience and I think they have one year under their belt with Mike and his system and how he wants his team to play.”

 

On what BJ Young did for Arkansas last year putting up 30 points and what challenge he presents to Florida

“He’s a handful because he’s really, really explosive and he’s really good with the ball on the open floor because of his athleticism and open floor speed and how quick he can get to the rim. We probably fouled him too much a year ago and put him to the free throw line. He got in and around the basket and really is a good finisher for a guard. He’s a handful. You can’t guard him with one person, just like you can’t guard Powell with one person. Those guys are too skilled and too good offensively. But where Young really thrives is when he’s driving the ball or he has the ball in space in transition. Our ability to get back and protect the paint and protect against drives, that’s going to be really important.”

 

On being able to play and get familiar with Arkansas on a more consistent basis

“With the expansion, the scheduling has gotten a little different. Last year, we played them because we had 16 (games) in the league. This year, we’re in a home-and-home with them and we’ll play them twice. Next year, we have to go back to Arkansas. We’re going to play in Fayetteville three times in relation to here only once. Because of the off-set schedule, that’s a little bit unique and a little bit different. I think Bud Walton is a great place to play. They have great fans, good enthusiasm and a good environment. I’m sure there will be a great crowd in there. Our guys have gone into that building, they know what to expect. They know how it is in there and they (Arkansas) plays very, very well at home as the stats and records show. They are exceptionally a very good home team.”

 

On what makes Arkansas a different team at home

“The biggest thing you look at is the field goal percentage, the offensive numbers are different. I think that’s not abnormal. Most teams shoot the ball better at home than they do on the road, those numbers are drastically different. Winning on the road, I think, is really hard to do. There’s probably a comfort level and a confidence level for those guys, playing in Fayetteville. It’s a unique and great environment, which I’m sure they enjoy very much. I think most teams feel different when they play at home.”

 

On if his commitment to defense has changed over his years of coaching

“No, I think you always have a commitment to defense. You always want to try to do that. I thought our team in 2000 was really good defensively because we had a lot of depth, size, athleticism and we could really press. We had Donnell Harvey and Brent Wright, (Udonis) Haslem and (Matt) Bonner and Mike Miller, (Kenyan) Weaks, those guys were really, really good defensively. Then, in 06-07, I thought we were really good defensively because we had great shot-blocking at the basket. This team is a little bit different because we don’t necessarily have a lot of those ingredients. We don’t have the same depth as in 2000, and we don’t have the same shot-blocking as in 2006. But getting our guys to understand the ability that they have to help each other in certain areas on the floor, I think we’re much better in that area. I also think, trying to get these guys to understand positioning on the floor. That is so crucial. Just little, subtle things. Like, a guy is standing out at 35 feet and is completely out of shooting range and our guys are standing next to him, that opens up a lot of holes. When the ball moves and the floor moves, us being in the right position. Us understanding the importance that against any defense, dribble penetration, pain touches, offensive rebounds will ultimately destroy your defense. So we’ve done a better job, I think, eliminating, not totally, but we’ve done a better job, maybe, not giving those same things up. I also think that we’ve got some more talented, so to speak, better defenders, athletically. Like Will (Yeguete) is very gifted defensively. Scottie is very gifted defensively. Patric is a good mover for a center; to move his feet and be able to help on pick and rolls and down screens. Murphy is a smarter defender. Boynton has a lot of experience. Rosario is a fifth-year senior. You always have that commitment there. I think because our guys defended well, you get more excited about playing defense. Listen, I’ve said this before, most teams always enjoy playing offense, more than they enjoy playing defense. Our guys, I think, have understood the value of playing good defense.”

 

On being rare to get a group of guys that are good defenders

“So much of it is the technique part of being in the right position. Like Michael Frazier being a freshman, got caught a couple of times in the game against Ole Miss guarding White. He was in the wrong position and he curls in the lane, it’s a runner in the lane and he misses and Buckner’s tipping it in because Patric’s got to help him. That happens a couple of times. You could just see his positioning in relationship to some other guy’s positioning is totally different. I think defense to me is no different than offense. Offense doesn’t work unless you have five guys collectively, cohesively moving, sharing the basketball, screening, and spacing. It’s the same thing on defense. You could do a great job on screening action, but if the help is not where it needs to be you are going to eventually get hurt. I think our guys have done a much better job of what we would call ‘helping the help.’ Like, if Patric Young is out showing on a screen and Scottie Wilbekin is running off the screen and Patric Young’s man is left open for a second, the weak side has to slide across and absorb those things. You’re moving pieces and parts around the floor that they have to understand the rotations on certain things and that takes time. That is not something that just instinctively happens. That takes time to really understand that and see that.”

 

On keeping the team focused and finding things to work on

“We have plenty of stuff to work on. That is never a problem. It is a constant, every single day thing. You have a choice to make every single day you walk out there. You can either get better or work to get better or you can come in with the attitude of, it’s always human nature to want to be complacent. To not want to work, to maybe not want to be focused. You are always taking yourself out of your comfort zone and I think as a coach I am always trying to put those guys in situations where they are being forced to be taken out of their comfort zone. Once they do something that’s really good, why as a coach wouldn’t you expect that out of them every single day? They do it once, why are they incapable or unable to do it on a more consistent level. That is what you are trying to get, you are trying to get a level of consistency. But you are never going to have consistency unless they are focused on trying to get better.”

 

On Murphy’s transformation

“I think early in his career he battled some injuries, especially in his sophomore year where we kind of needed him a little bit more than what we got out of him. Part of it was, Erik is such a team-oriented guy and he’s a good chemistry guy, when he got hurt his sophomore year it was almost like our team was playing pretty well and he didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes. He kind of just accepted his role, he was unsure of himself. Then I think going into his junior year with (Vernon) Macklin and (Alex) Tyus and (Chandler) Parsons and those guys, I think it was pretty clear we were going to need him to step up for our team and I think he has done that.”

 

On Erik Murphy wanting to transfer early on

“Most of these guys at this level have never ever dealt with or have faced any level of personal adversity on the court because they have always been the best player. Everything has always been about them. I am a big believer that you can run from a problem, but that problem is going to follow you to the next place you go. Erik’s lack of playing time, lack of involvement, or his role for the first few years was a byproduct of what he did on the court, determining what his role would be on the team. He really had a choice to make. I found that these guys play their best basketball when their back is against the wall and they are forced to make a decision. You either have to run and, ‘I’m getting out of here, I’m leaving, I’m going to go where it is going to be easier,’ or, ‘I am going to battle, fight, and get through it.’

 

“I think the one thing that is a little bit unique is I sat in the same chair as those guys did. I wanted to leave Providence after my sophomore year. It wasn’t my fault; it was the coach’s fault. As you get older and you start to mature, you realize, you know what, the coach wants you to win and I’m not playing because I’m not bringing enough to the table to get on the floor. Then you have a decision to make. Do I transfer to a lower-level where I am clearly the better player on the team, I am just going to play, it is going to be a little easier for me, and I will get what I want? I think then you will never reach your full potential.

 

“I think for Erik, battling through that adversity and challenge is really good, the same with our freshmen right now. Our freshmen are in a situation where you have a fifth-year senior in Mike Rosario; you have a junior in Scottie Wilbekin; you have Kenny Boynton, a four-year starter; at the small forward spot we’ve got Casey Prather or Rosario. They are overwhelmed sometimes with a lack of experience, so to speak, that they will get to a crossroads to say, ‘Am I going to fight and keep getting better?’ That is one thing I have respected about this freshman group. Although they haven’t player significant minutes, they come in every single day and try to work and get better. They can see the bigger picture. A lot of time guys can’t see the bigger picture because they have never gone through any adversity at all. It is really, really interesting.

 

“I remember Brad Beal, even though he was playing a lot, it was the first time he went through adversity early here in November and December where he wasn’t playing great. He didn’t know how to respond to that because he had never gone through that before, not playing great. I think a lot of the times it is good for players to go through adversity, challenges, or something that is difficult because I think it gives them at least an idea of later on in life when there is a lot more challenging circumstances they have to deal with and understanding of how to fight and not run from a problem, but confront it and deal with it.”

 

On Kenny Boynton being able to give up the ball

“What ends up happening so many times are when these guys are coming out of high school, there is so much, so much exposure, and so much publicity. Kenny clearly was one of the best high school players coming out. I think a lot of the times people just think, ‘It’s going to take me a year or two and then I’ll be in the NBA.’ It doesn’t work like that. A lot of the NBA stuff is size for position, length, athleticism, jumping. It has nothing to do with your game sometimes. I think for Kenny being such a prolific scorer, his whole focus was just on scoring. To his credit, I think he has matured; he has grown as a player. I think he has finally is getting an understanding that he can really impact the game in a lot of different ways. It’s the first time in his career that he has had 10 assists. I think right now he has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the SEC (in conference games). That’s a credit to him looking at how he can help our team, how he can get better. He has recognized that. I’m not so sure Kenny Boynton could have done that as a freshman. I don’t think he had the mindset to do that. Through experience and going through what he is going through, he has become a very good decision maker and made other people on the floor better.”

 

On what makes Will Yeguete such a great rebounder

“There are certain guys that just have that knack or the ability to get their hands on balls to rebound. He is an instinctively very, very good rebounder because he can rebound out of his area. I cannot, necessarily, put my hand on it, so to speak, but in a lot of ways the better rebounders never let guys that are blocking them out get into their hips. They just have an ability to keep some space away from their legs and, even though there may be some upper-body contact, they still have the ability to move their hips and their legs to get into positions to rebound the ball. The other thing too is when the floor is moving, he gets a run at the basket, and he can move around people that is where he is really, really effective. He is a hard guy to get a body on. The best guy I’ve ever coached doing that was Donnell Harvey. He was by far the best, you could never get into his hips and legs because he was so good at when people came at him to hit him he was always able to use his arms, he always kept his legs free. When his legs were free he was always free to move and jump. Guys that don’t rebound the ball well or guys that you anticipate being a good rebounder, a lot of times guys get into their legs and they can’t move and they allow that contact to get into them low. Really good rebounders never let that happen. They can really, really get away and eliminate a lot of contact on the body. Some guys are just gifted like that. They just have it.”

 

On the other parts of Yeguete’s game

“I also think that you can have that ability, but if you don’t have the effort to go chase balls on the glass it doesn’t really make a difference what kind of ability you have. There is no difference between a guy that is physically incapable of doing it and a guy that won’t do it. Will, even though he has got that ability, he does make a really good effort to go after those loose balls, go after those kinds of rebounds, keep balls alive, deflect balls, and do those things. A lot of it is something that he has been blessed with.”

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