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Monday February 18, 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 talked about tomorrow’s game at Missouri, Florida’s balanced scoring, Erik Murphy and Michael Frazier’s consistent 3-point shots and other topics.

 

Florida Men’s Basketball Head Coach Billy Donovan

February 18, 2013

 

On how Missouri is a different team with Laurence Bowers back fully healthy

“When we played them the first time, obviously he didn’t play. (He’s) a guy that has been referenced by their team and coaches as the heart and soul guy of their team. He’s a very good player. He can do a lot of different things. He can rebound, score from the low post, shoot threes , he’s crafty, good defensively and he’s a very smart player. I think anytime you take a player like that off the team, your team is going to be a little different. Certainly, he’s an older guy, a veteran and an experienced guy, him being back only makes their team better.”

 

On the atmosphere of playing in an environment like Missouri

“Listen, you go play in Rupp (Arena), you go play in Arkansas, you go play in certain places in the league, a tough environment is going to be a tough environment. The noise level at any place is going to be loud. Auburn had a really good environment on Saturday. Our guys have played on the road. We played at Arizona, I thought that was a very difficult place to play. We went to Kansas State at a neutral site and they had a great turnout. Our guys have played in difficult situations. I think if there’s anything we’re going to talk about environment-wise that is going to take our guys back or off-guard.”

 

On if the top teams in the country always need a balanced scoring output like Florida

“Philosophically, it’s more of a coaching decision than anything else. There are certain coaches that, maybe, feel if they’ve got a very good player, they’re going to try to have that guy take a good number of shots and put the ball in that guy’s hands to make plays. I’m sure that works and has been proven. I’ve always just been a big believer that you need balance because I do think in certain situations, whether a guy is not shooting the ball well or if the defense has done something to take the guy out of the game. They’ve got to be able to adjust to what the defense is giving you. It’s interesting, we go into the Mississippi State game and the way they’re playing defense, we took a lot of three-point shots and I got asked if we’re taking too many threes. The next game, we came back against Kentucky. They certainly made an emphasis to take away threes with the way they were guarding us on the perimeter. You know what, we got the ball inside and we took, maybe, 14 or 15 threes in the game. Then, we come back to Auburn and they try to do some things to really pack it in against Patric Young and (Erik) Murphy around the basket, that left some things open and we took 30 threes. So, I don’t have a set number of threes or who needs to score, I just know that the ball needs to move. It needs to find the open guy. If you’ve got a shot and a guy has a better one, you’ve got to find that guy. I think the more that you can have that kind of balance, where a guy like Patric Young is proven. He can get 20 points in a game. Kenny Boynton can do that. (Mike) Rosario can do that. Murphy can do that. (Scottie) Wilbekin can do that. We’ve got guys that can do that. (Michael) Frazier gets 18 points off the bench. I think when you get your guys coming in with the mindset of playing the right way, I think, offensively, you become very challenging and difficult to guard. You’ve got to make some decisions on how you want to play against a really balanced team. We’re dealing with that right now, playing against Missouri.  Inside the league, they have six guys averaging double-figures. Do you just double-team (Alex) Oriakhi every single time and leave three-point shooters open on the perimeter? Do you just sit there and try to get the ball out of Phil Pressey’s hands? Good offensive teams that have balance across the board, there’s not one thing you do to be disruptive. It becomes difficult because you know as a coach, going into the game, any given night, one of these guys can have an explosive game.”

 

On Michael Frazier’s defensive development

“He’s getting there. He still has lapses in the game sometimes where I’d like to see him be a little better, but he’s getting better. There’s some newness there. Sometimes, he doesn’t quite see things developing like some of the older guys do. He’s maybe a step late, he gets screened, he gets bumped, he’s not paying attention or he’s not in the right position. Sometimes he gets hurt, but he’s getting better. What’s great about Mike is he’s really coachable. He allows me to get on him. He allows the coaches to push and drive him. He wants to get better. He wants to learn and I think because of that attitude, his learning curve to get better is probably further along than a lot of younger guys. A lot of younger guys, it might be the first time they’ve been coached really hard or someone has gotten after them, they don’t respond well to that. I think for Mike, he wants that. He wants input, to be coached, dialogue, to be challenged and I think when you do that to him, he tries to respond and do better.”

 

On the typical freshman learning curve

“It all varies. There are certain guys that come in here and like I would say Scottie Wilbekin from day one was really pretty advanced defensively and he had really, really good feet and when he did get in trouble his feet and strength could get him out of trouble.  That’s a big factor, too. There are certain guys who have a real good read and understanding of the game and maybe they aren’t the quickest guys but they can see things. Dan Werner was a lot like that for us. People would look at him and say well he’s not a great defender; well, he was a phenomenal defender because he was always in the right spot because he could see things developing before they happened. Everyone is different and I think the better your internal basketball feel is, the better your basketball IQ is, the quicker you’re going to get there. If you’re a guy who’s just relied on speed, quickness and athleticism you’re whole entire life, you’re going to get put into some situations where you’re going to get screened. Patric Young really went through that his freshman year where probably the first time in his life he had to deal with screening action where guys are screening him now, where his guys are running off into the post or they’re running his directions or he doesn’t know whether to show or guard his man. And when you’re a good player who has been able to rely on size, strength, speed, you haven’t been forced to look at the game in a different view. I think once you start to gain some experiences, you start to look at the game a little differently.”

 

On how playing a season at Montverde helped Michael Frazier

“I think it definitely helped him. I think playing against good players, I think playing in a very, very competitive environment and I think no question that experience helped him. I think Mike would tell you that it really, really helped him. He played for a great high school before he left there and a great coach and certainly a great level of talent and scheduling and who he played against and those things were really, really raised by being at Montverde. I think that experience probably helped him.”

 

On the challenge of playing a team at home, especially a team like Missouri that is undefeated at home

“Anytime you talk about what you’re talking about, the first thing you’ve got to look at is why. What are the things that stand out. The first two things are (Earnest) Ross and Oriakhi. I mean those guys are averaging like five and seven points a game on the road and both those guys are up over 16 at home. I mean, that’s a huge jump. Oriakhi averages 11 more points a game in the league at home than he does on the road. Ross is about 10. I think the other thing, too, is you look at Phil Pressey’s assist-to-turnover ratio. You know where he’s about 3-to-1 at home, getting guys shots. And obviously I would say this about his assists, that in order to get an assist the ball’s got to go into the basket. But they certainly feel more comfortable shooting the ball at home. That stands out, as well, and I think the biggest numbers are is what they’re shooting from the field which is right around 48 percent and what they’re shooting from three which is about 42 percent. So they’ve been a team that has been really explosive offensively at home. Their defensive numbers are pretty good at home and pretty good on the road the difference has been that there is a 16 to 18 point differential between at home and on the road for them in certain situations. Now you’re dealing with a very, very explosive offensive team that can score in bunches in a lot of different ways, in a lot of different situations and they have back a key guy in Bowers we didn’t see when we played against them last time. So I think there are a lot of things you look at on the biggest differential being at home and on the road with them.”

 

On adjustments being made with Bowers playing on Tuesday

“Anytime, I’m sure it’s the same thing you’re going to watch film, you know you’re going to figure out where you got hurt, where you were caused some problems, adjustments, changes that both teams will need to make in the game. I’m sure there are some things different they’ll see that are different from us and I’m sure we’ll see some things that will be different from them. But the biggest thing is understanding going on the road and dealing with such an explosive offensive team that when they get out in transition and you don’t get back, they make you pay. You don’t do a good job of rebounding the basketball and you don’t block out they’ve got a pretty large, maybe the biggest, rebounding margin in our league in SEC play. So there are a lot of variables in playing a really good team like this that we’ll have to be prepared for. We’re going to have to handle some adversity and handle some runs. If we’re playing well, we can’t embrace that. We’ve got to continue playing. There’s going to be a multitude of challenges going into to tomorrow night’s play.”

 

On dealing with Missouri’s physicality

“We’ve got a hand that we are dealt and we have to figure it out. Going into the Kentucky game in the second half with four minutes to go I had (Casey) Prather at the center spot and Frazier at the power forward spot. Someone is going to go into the game that is going to be undersized, that’s probably the extent of it right now. It is not like we are going to whip up somebody and throw them in there right now and all of a sudden become the really, really deep basketball team across the front line. We are going to deal with the hand we are dealt and we had to deal with that. Obviously, Nerlens (Noel) got in foul trouble to start with and middle-end of the first half Young was in some foul trouble. Murphy had to battle some foul trouble. There were some fatigue issues. We probably didn’t have the best conducive lineup at the time going against (Alex) Poythress, (Kyle) Wiltjer and (Willie) Cauley-Stein, but that is what you have to do. You have to try to do some things on offense to space the floor and you have to try to do some things on defense to provide help in the post and you have to utilize each other.”

 

On watching past Gators David Lee and Joakim Noah in the NBA All-Star game

“I watched a little bit. I watched a little bit of Noah and a little bit of Lee. I didn’t watch a whole bunch of it. My son was more locked into the game than I was. I watched a little bit when both of those guys played. I was happy for both of those guys. I was happy for a lot of our guys. Matt Bonner obviously finished second in the three-point shooting contest, Chandler Parsons and Brad Beal were in the rookie-sophomore game and obviously Noah and David Lee playing in the All-Star game, so I was happy those guys could have that kind of experience for the weekend.”

 

On Noah setting picks and playing tough defense in the game

“That is just who he is. That definitely would not surprise me.”

 

On how rare Erik’s ability is to hit three pointers for his size

“We have been fortunate here that we have had some guys, even going back to Greg Stolt, who I inherited from Lon’s (Kruger) team, he was a 6-foot-9 shooter and then you bring in a guy like Matt Bonner who was a really good shooter. Erik Murphy, as you mentioned, is a really good three-point shooter.”

 

On what makes him a good shooter

“The one thing I would say with him, which is very rare and you find this with good shooters, a lot of times people look at somebody’s mechanics and they say, well, those are wrong and those are right. Sometimes a guy has developed over a period of time an understanding of how his shot works and when they understand how their shot works, they then can determine why they miss or make shots. The one thing about Erik when he shoots the ball is there is very, very little stray from doing the same exact thing over and over and over. Sometimes when Kenny Boynton shoots when he is a little bit off, he is not shooting at the height of his jump he is shooting on the way down. Lee Humphrey, when he shot the basketball he had a hitch in his shot. He shot the ball on the way down and it looked awkward sometimes, but he had mastered that rhythm so much that he had a flow. So I think Erik has really good rotation. I think he shoots the same shot each time. He has confidence in the fact of when he is open and when he is in position to shoot that he is going to do the same thing over and over. I think it is more of a tribute to his discipline. That is one of the things that I tried to get Chandler (Parsons) to understand. Chandler sometimes would be up and down shooting the basketball because sometimes his form would be fading back, he’d be leaning to his left, he didn’t have is legs under him, there were different breakdowns for him. Erik is about as consistent as they come. Mike Miller was like that, (Brett) Nelson was like that, (Teddy) Dupay was like that. There were certain guys that were really, really like that and would do that. Obviously, Frazier is very similar to that. There is very, very little stray from their mechanics. Their mechanics are what they are and it is the same thing every time. It is no different than a guy going out swinging a golf club – when you take something back, there is a lot of room for error. You catch the basketball and go up to shoot there is a lot of room for error. Those guys that can cut down their error and it is the same shot each and every time, for the most part end up being really good shooters.”

 

On Mike Rosario’s confidence

“I’m sure his confidence is sky-high. It was sky-high last year. That doesn’t waver too much with him. I think the biggest thing for me with Mike is, and I know people think maybe I get on him too much, he played a really, really good game in the first half against Auburn. Then I thought in the second half he was way too loose. When I say too loose, he had a couple of wide-open shots that he made in the first half, didn’t make in the second half, which was fine. He had a drive the length of the floor that he dribbled off his knee. There are just those breakdowns there. I think part of the reason I challenge him so much is when he is really focused and locked in, he seems to play his best basketball. When he gets loose and relaxed and he’s not on edge and really, really ready, he gets a little carefree. He has done a really good job. I’m proud of Mike. I think he has come a long way from where he was a year ago. I’ve got confidence in Mike. I’ve got belief in Mike. When he is out there playing the right way, doing the right things, he is a very effective player for us. Again, there is a part of Mike that he can drift over here and may not be as effective. He may not be doing the things he is capable of doing. I think for me, as a coach, it’s constant and daily challenging him to be better than he was yesterday, to go out and be great, take advantage of the opportunities that you have, and utilize what you have. I think he has really tried to do that this year. For that, I am happy for him personally. Here’s a guy, a McDonald’s All-American, kind of doesn’t go well at Rutgers, he comes here, sits out a year, and doesn’t look like it’s going to go well. This is his last go-around. To his credit, he’s kind of battled and fought his way through.”

 

On the anchor Kenny Boynton has been the past four years

“I think the first thing is him coming in here we were coming off two NITs in a row, coming off two national championships. He had a lot to do with us getting back to the NCAA Tournament three years ago. Two, I think that he has evolved as a player. I think he came in as a freshman as a very explosive offensive player. That’s kind of what he did, but I think he turned out to be a really good defender, a guy that we had confidence in putting him on specific players. You think about his career, guarding Jimmer Fredette, having to do that two years in a row. He’s had to guard all sorts of guys, the Rotnei Clarkes of the world, John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. He’s guarded some really good players. He’s done an outstanding job. He’s been really, really coachable. He’s been a great kid. He’s been about winning. I think he has conducted and handled himself the right way. I have said this, when his time is done here he will go down as one of the better players to ever lace them up and play here. Especially, I am proud of him and happy for him being from the state of Florida. He’ll be able to have that for the rest of his life. He’s meant a lot. He’s done a lot for our program.”

 

On the amount of turnovers being down in the past few games

“We’ve made better decisions. We have done a pretty good job. I think we went through the first half there against Auburn with only a couple. We did a really nice job there. When we make good decisions, a lot of the times it’s that. It’s making good decisions. It’s making right passes. It’s being strong with the ball. We have had our moments where we have done a really good job and there have been moments we were have done a really poor job. Last game, we were pretty good against Auburn doing that. The biggest thing for me is just the ball movement, player movement, extra passing, and finding each other. We obviously lost two really good offensive players from a year ago in (Erving) Walker and Beal. Then you have got Boynton, Rosario, who is unproven, he hasn’t played a whole lot, Erik, Patric. They have been able to score and maintain a good consistency of offensive production, all of them, because they all have learned and been valuing playing unselfishly, playing the right way, and trying to make each other better. That’s enabled us to move past the departures of two really good offensive players.”

 

On how he is monitoring the team’s energy-level late into the regular season

“It’s been hard at times because of the injuries and different things we have been dealing with. You come out of a game, I thought yesterday we had a spirited practice. I think our guys understand that we are in the middle of February, there are six games remaining. It’s a lot to play for. I think our guys are excited. It’s a grind. It’s a grind to these guys, not just our team, for anybody in this league or any other conference. When you go through an 18-game league schedule, there are a lot of ups, downs, challenges, mentally getting yourself prepared to play with bumps, bruises, aches, pains, injuries, setbacks, not feeling great, play good, play poor, won, lost. There are a lot of things that you have to deal with emotionally; go to class, go to school, study hall, tutoring. It is a lot on these guys’ plates. I think our energy level has been good. Obviously as a coach, we get a chance to dictate practice plan-wise what we need to do, where we need to cut back, have a change or tweak, those kinds of things. We need to be in the situation where we are getting better. There’s a fine line there between not doing anything, doing no contact, and losing and missing out on the opportunity to get better. There’s a fine line of doing way, way too much and having guys broken down, tired, sore, not being able to recover to go from one day to the next. You are always walking that line trying to find the best balance you can.”

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