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Monday March 11, 2013Quotes and Video from Head Coach Billy Donovan's Monday Press Conference

Gainesville, Fla.

Menís basketball head coach Billy Donovan held his weekly press conference on Monday and recapped the regular season and talked about what the team will be working on heading into this weekís SEC Tournament.


Florida Menís Basketball Head Coach Billy Donovan

March 11, 2013


On what he took away from the loss to Kentucky

ďI felt like even going back to the Arizona game, I thought our difficulties were turnovers, press offense-wise. We struggled there and it certainly came back and it bit us. I thought Missouri game being up 13, turnovers hurt us in terms of we had three of four possessions we turned the ball over and they went on a 12-0 run to cut it to one and obviously we were going back in a dog fight. Probably at least at the end, we settled for too many threes and looking at this game, we turned it over five times there at the seven-minute mark† coming down the stretch. They turned it over four times, so that kind of helped us a little bit where our turnovers werenít necessarily hurting us. But in terms of the execution and shots that we got, the Missouri game we probably took too many threes late and not enough around the basket. The last seven minutes we took two jump shots and everything else was around the basket and we werenít able to finish, we werenít able to score. I think if there was one thing for me in those games or in those situations for me itís the turnovers. I donít know necessarily why guys are just missing point-blank plays. Someoneís got to step up and make a couple of those and obviously itís a little more challenging to make a three, itís a deeper shot, but I think Casey Prather made a great move. He had a five-foot jump shot uncontested that he didnít knock down. Patric (Young) had a jump hook and he had a layup clean. Scottie (Wilbekin) had a drive down the lane. We had five plays there that I thought were where really good execution and getting the ball who it needed to get to, we just didnít finish the plays. The turnover part of it, those are possessions where youíre not getting them back to at least get another shot at the basket. I feel like from those games weíve gotten better and weíve improved. There hasnít been one thing. I felt the Arizona game it was our press offense, and we got better there. I thought the Missouri game, it was that we settled too much and didnít get enough action towards the basket. I thought the Kentucky game we did, but the common thing in all three of those games is turnovers. Thatís a problem. Weíve got to do a better job taking care of the basketball and getting shots up to the basket.Ē


On how to get more shots to the basket in certain situations

ďI thought that there was some confusion, the building was loud. I called a play, (Kenny) Boynton thought I called something else. He kind of got confused and then he realized what I had called and as he was running to get into the action, Scottie threw it to him. So it was just kind of a miscommunication. That one is hard but you know Mike Rosario has a pass across the floor up to that is careless and is a run-out dunk going the other way.† Weíve got to play on and Prather is open on a back door lob and Scottie from an execution standpoint throws a lefty pass with one hand and hits off Pratherís hands and goes out of bounds. Weíve got to be able to execute that because it was open and it was the right pass; it was just a poorly-executed pass. So I think the fundamental part of our guys doing a better job doing that is what is really going to be important in terms of taking care of the basketball and not having some of those plays because itís a close game with three or four minutes to go and you throw a pass across the floor and allow a turnover, you have no balance itís a run-out dunk. We have to eliminate that kind of play. But the shots and turnovers, I mean we got Patric three really, really good shots. Prather got a really good shot and Scottie got two of them in the lane but we didnít make one of them. At some point you have to at least step up and knock it down. So in terms of what weíre trying to get our guys to do, we are trying to do those things.Ē


On getting flustered in late game situation

ďI would say this: we are a team that really tries to pay unselfishly. If you look at our assists, our shooting percentages from the field and from the line weíve been very good.† But even if you go back and look at Alabama, if you go back and look at Vanderbilt there is a stretch in those games where we put together or string together three, four, five turnovers in seven possessions. But youíre up, itís not a key point in time in the game and all of a sudden, you know itís not as magnified. Youíre on the road at Missouri and up by 13 and all four possessions are a missed free throw, missed one-and-one and three straight turnovers. They go on a 12-0 run and now itís a one-point game and that happened in a minute and a half. Like I said before, Kentucky would have made a better run sooner had they not turned it over because they turned it over four times themselves. We did a pretty good job defensively and they had some pretty errant, careless passes as well but I think thatís something with our team we have to do a better job as a team by taking care of the basketball. The thing that is interesting when you look at our total number of turnovers for a game when you look at the stat sheet, we turn it over fewer times than most teams. Last the last nine minutes against Arizona, we had 14 turnovers for the game so in 31 minutes we only turned the ball over six times. We turned the ball over eight times in the last nine minutes against Arizona. So itís just those stretches there where weíve done it before but it hasnít come back and kind of gotten us like in certain situations.Ē


On working on turnovers in practice

ďWeíre constantly working on that stuff. Weíre always working on that stuff, taking care of the ball and all those things. Youíre doing that from day one, and thatís always a focus but weíve got to get better because, I would say this. If you look at the numbers, itís not like were turning the ball over 20 times in a game. But some of those stretches where weíve got a lead, some of those things are coming back and weíre not giving ourselves a chance to shoot the basketball. Now Iím not saying with the way we shot the basketball to close the game out against Kentucky, I donít know what the solution is to layups, runners and those things. Theyíve got to do a better job finishing around the basket, in my opinion.Ē


On whether he worries that guys tense up in close games

ďI donít think so. I look at guys being tensed up, like the last thing I can tell you right now that Scottie Wilbekin is concerned about is that. The guy is throwing left-handed pass across his body. You have to have somewhat of a fearlessness to do that. When he is in a lane driving it, I donít sense that from our guys. I donít. I have coached some guys where you can tell when they are going to the free throw line or that moment where they are a little bit overwhelmed by it. I donít sense that from our guys. All of that stuff we can work on and we can get better. At the end of the day, if Boynton knocks down that three against Missouri, we win. Or we make three or four shots around the basket (at Kentucky) and we win, we are not even talking about this. I think there is a bigger issue for me that I am more focused on. I donít sense from our guys that, ĎGeez this keeps happening over and over.í We won the league, 14-4. I thought we played well. Obviously in an 18-game schedule, we had some bad games. I am more disappointed than anything is the way our before the Kentucky game, the way we have practiced and the way we have played with so much on the line. That for me is much more alarming. I think if you go back and you look at the fact that here we are playing Alabama and we are at home and it is a game for first place. We are up by three in the first half and then we are careless and turn the ball over and now all of a sudden we are down by eight. People are talking about a great comeback, but we really played poorly in the game. I made the comment after the game I was really, really disappointed for 30 minutes of the game and I was really proud for about 10 minutes. That to me is all a product of practice. That is the thing that is more alarming to me. We did not practice well at all going into Lexington. We are playing against Vanderbilt, we are not shooting the ball well and itís a hard-fought game and we end up winning by 26, but the last eight minutes we kind of turned it on offensively and we made some shots. To me, I am more concerned about that. I think if our guys were getting good shots in those situations and not turning the ball over, you are going to have to live with the result. There are going to be some games where maybe you make a couple of those plays you get fouled and you make some free throws. Even in the Missouri game, I think we went 6-for-12 (from the free throw line) in the game. In the second half against Tennessee on the road, we are 1-for-10 from the 3-point line. I am disappointed in our teamís fire. I donít see it. Iím more concerned about that. I think it is pretty evident if you look at the way the Kentucky game started, we are down 4-0 and I have to call a timeout. Erik Murphy gets pushed out of the way on an offensive rebound by (Alex) Poythress, layup. Then he goes down into a post-move and Willie Cauley-Stein raps his shot back out to half court. Itís 4-0 and I have to call a timeout, then all of a sudden the score is 11-2. We are tied 31-all going into the half. We come out in the second half and they go on a 6- or 7-0 run and we go down by seven or eight points. Now all of a sudden we make a few shots and we get up by seven, but I am more looking at the whole body of work right now with the way we are playing. I donít like our fire. I donít like our intensity right now.Ē


On how to get the team to have more fire

ďI donít know. To me, thatís whatís concerning. You have an SEC Championship on the line with Alabama coming in who is in second place, and that clearly was not a team that was ready to play. And I have to take responsibility as a coach that thatís my job, and they were not ready to play for whatever reason. But there is not a fire that I sense from our team. It is one of those things, and I dealt with this with (Joakim) Noah and (Al) Horford. You are 13-0 in a 16-game league schedule, you have clinched and SEC Championship and you have three games remaining, and itís like, ĎOK, what are we playing for?í You have some slip-ups, you lose some of that, but for us right now getting a chance to get sole possession of first place then to come back home against Vandy to win it outright and weíre not (ready), that is concerning to me.Ē


On not having seniors with a ďfieryĒ personality

ďI would agree with that, but I think that I am not looking for this Ďrah-rah,í all that stuff, but there is a little bit of an intensity... We have played pretty good defense so far. Again, I am trying to help our team try to become great. I am not interested in us just going through the motions here, and I think that what I have witnessed in practice over the last three weeksÖ. I am in the Kentucky game and I am calling timeout a minute into the game and I am trying to inject fire and passion, and we are not playing with fire and passion right now. Not like we did against Marquette or Wisconsin or some of these games we have played in our league where we have had that fire and passion. I donít think it is about making shots or missing shots or any of those things. I just think that our perseverance, our resiliency needs to continue to get better. They have to enjoy the struggle a lot more. They have to enjoy the struggle in practice and those kinds of things. Probably need to do some things changing up practice a little bit. I think we can show (them) the issues. One common theme in those games has been the turnovers. That is the one common theme. Guys not making a shot, thatís a hard thing. I give our guys credit for this, we go into the Missouri game and Patric got one touch up front, and they fouled him inside five minutes. He missed the one-and-one, he missed actually two one-and-ones, he got it twice and we didnít really turn the ball over after that. We let them come back in the game. Rosario made a couple of shots. Scottie Wilbekin made a tough three to put us up one. Then (Laurence) Bowers makes an unbelievable turnaround jump shot with a hand in his face to give them the one-point lead and then we probably didnít get what we wanted to with 19 seconds. I think the question was asked if we are too much perimeter-oriented, and I said after the game thatís not the shot we wanted. I have to say against Kentucky the shots we took, we wanted those shots. That is what we wanted. That is what we have worked on so I think our guys have gotten better at trying to do those things. Here is a situation where you take a lot of threes against Missouri and they donít go in, now you get everything around the basket. We had I think nine shots, seven shots in the lane and two on the perimeter.Ē


On people calling the team a ďchokingĒ team and how he might use that as motivation

ďWhen you use that word, to me, it means, in the moment, you are afraid, donít want it or shy away from it. Thereís been times, I think, Iíve seen guys go to the free-throw line Ė not this team, but other teams Iíve coached Ė and the guys are totally petrified, I can tell. And the ball goes in the basket. Well, he probably wasnít in the right frame of mind. Heís probably like, ĎOh, wow. It went in.í I donít get that from our team. I donít see that. If anything I see, maybe, an overconfidence or a, ĎWeíre going to be OK.í I donít get an, ĎOh my gosh.í I donít see guys shying away from the ball. I donít see Kenny Boynton not wanting to take a shot. I donít see Scottie Wilbekin not wanting to drive and take a shot. I donít see guys running and hiding, ĎHey donít throw it to me.í That to me is what I would say is choking. The guy in that moment, the moment of truth, doesnít want the ball, doesnít want to make the play. Casey Prather made a heck of move. He made two of those shots in the game. At that moment, he did not make that shot. Patric Young got the ball a couple of times in and around the basket, he just didnít finish the play. Scottie got a couple of drives where one of them he should have made and one of them he tried to draw a foul on Cauley-Stein and he kind of threw it up there where he could have gone up and finished it. But again, all those games weíve played have been on the road. Iíve said this before, Iím looking around the country right now and Iím watching teams go on the road and lose by 20. The only two games I was disappointed in our performance, one wasnít their fault, was probably Arkansas because Arkansas got off to a great start, (Will) Yeguete goes down, we were trying to throw Prather in there after having a high ankle sprain. He probably wasnít ready to play. Our team was disheveled. Pat gets two fouls. We werenít ready for that moment for everything that happened inside the game. I didnít know Yeguete was going to be, ĎI canít play.í That game and the Kansas State game, those two games I donít think we can talk about having the right to win those games with the way we performed. Tennessee with six guys, weíre there. We had a couple of good shots to put it close. I didnít see guys passing up wide open shots and ĎOh my god, I donít want to shoot the ballí and throw it to the next guy. I donít see that.Ē


On having five full days to prepare for the SEC Tournament after not having a bye week during the season

ďThe only thing that I regret is that this is not spring break this week because there is no time frame. Thereís no 20-hour rule (during spring break). We had that last week. We need to get better in some areas. Theyíve seen the film. Weíve talked about it. Again, we have a great group of kids who won a league. At the end of the day, I understand if weíre going to talk about Arizona, Missouri and Kentucky, those three games, and thatís all weíre going to talk about for 30 games and not talk about these guys winning a league championship outright. Thereís got to be both sides. Weíve got to focus on three games and not focus on 27? Weíre going to get into another close situation, again. Thereís no question about it. How will we respond? I donít know. What happened in the past doesnít mean itís going to happen again because Iíve seen some growth and Iíve seen some strides in the right direction in terms of dealing with those things. Iíd like to see us get to the free throw line more. I donít think weíre getting to the free throw line enough. And I also would also like to see us do a better job of taking care of the basketball and not turning the ball over. If Kentucky would have gotten more shots at the basket because they turned it over four times themselves, the league would have evaporated pretty quick. In the Missouri game, weíre up by 13 with 10 or 11 minutes to go in the game, that run I just mentioned, those four possessions, they made two threes, two free throws and two two-point field goals. They ran up 12 points in, basically, a minute and 45 seconds. So itís a one point game with eight minutes to go in the game. So, why did that happen? Well, we turned the ball over right now. We turned the ball over. I thought the turnovers hurt us, but we had every opportunity to overcome that against Kentucky in my opinion.Ē


On whether they were trying to force Cauley-Stein into his fifth foul

ďI donít think Patric (Young) could have drawn contact because he had a point-blank layup underneath the rim and he had a jump hook. What you want to do is get off a clear shot. I thought Scottie (Wilbekin), a couple of times, was trying to draw a foul on him on a drive instead of maybe being focused on finishing the play. He was on the side of him and he kind of wanted to jump into him and Stein kind of backed away and Scottie was off-balance and he was right in front of the rim. Youíve got to be able to get the ball on the backboard or on the glass and be able to make that play with that kind of angle there. Certainly, youíre running plays to go at him and put him in that situation and I thought we did that. I thought Patric had three plays there. Sometimes, youíll think Patric doesnít get enough touches. I think he took 11 shots in the game and we got it to him in the last five minutes several times and he, for whatever reason, just didnít make them. It wasnít just Patric. Other guys didnít make shots either.Ē


On the turnovers

ďI look at it totally different right now. When youíre dealing with players, thereís always something that youíre going to need to work on thatís going to flower itself. Letís say our turnovers, right now, are an issue and Iíve talked to our guys about this and weíve talked about it all year long. Going back all the way into December in Arizona, we turned the ball over eight times. So, thatís been a problem weíve been talking about. Sometimes players donít see that as being a problem. I show them where we had three or four possessions in a row where Will Yeguete is trying to throw high-low passes to Patric Young and then itís a turnover and this guy turns it over. Like five possessions where you have three or four turnovers in a row and never get a shot at the basket. I think, sometimes, there are underlying problems inside your team, that at some point are going to flower themselves. If we would have knocked down the game-winner against Missouri, if we would have made a couple of those runners, maybe those guys would have been like, ĎThe turnovers are no big deal. We still won. Itís not that big of a deal.í Right now, itís in front of their face that we have to deal with that and we have to get better at that, thereís no question.Ē


On what he has seen from Kenny Boynton late in games

ďYou know, Iíve been on teams as a player where, and this is just for me, philosophically, and some other coaches may just totally disagree, Iíve been in games, sat on benches, and the coach says weíre running a play to you, youíre getting the last shot, make it. The guy is walking off the bench saying, ĎOh my god, I canít believe he is coming to me with this play. I hopeÖ I donít knowÖí There are certain guys that can handle that. Iíve always been a big believer you have to play together, the ball has got to move and find certain people in certain areas of the floor, and then you have to go with whoever is open. Does that mean if Patric Young is open from the 3-point line do I want him shooting a three? No, but Kenny Boyntonís shot, the shot that he had, he created separation, it rimmed out, it was a pretty good look. I wouldnít say it was this uncontested shot. A lot of times you are not going to get uncontested shots. Kentucky didnít get a lot of uncontested shots. They had shot clock violations against us in the last five minutes. They didnít get a shot on the basket and a couple of times they turned it over. What they did do is they got fouled. Archie Goodwin got fouled several times. What happened on Kenny Boyntonís play is Patric Young gets switched on by a guard. He needs to duck in and post up, and he didnít do that. Then you have Cauley-Stein on the perimeter guarding Wilbekin, where Kenny as he went probably could have hooked it (to Wilbekin) but he maybe didnít see it. The shot he had, I didnít think was necessarily a bad shot. I thought the one against Missouri was a settling shot. He just settled, didnít even try to get any action to the basket. He didnít try to put any pressure on the defense. We didnít do anything like that. I thought that in this game we put pressure at the basket. We put pressure on them and tried to get fouled. We threw the ball inside. We drove inside. We put pressure on the defense there. If Kenny is open, I have total confidence in him as I do with Mike Rosario or Scottie. What you want to do in those situations, in my opinion, is you want to get a good clean shot off.Ē


On what an SEC Tournament title would mean to him

ďI just look at it right now that this is what is front of us. You have 14 teams that are going to go to Nashville and compete for this. Youíre playing for a championship. To me, I am not worried about the seeding part of it. Iím not worried about anything else. The fact is that we have an opportunity for three days to potentially play for another championship. The regular season is over and done with. Thatís behind us. Thatís already been celebrated, talked about, thatís done. This is whatís in front of us right now.Ē


On how this group has handled success

ďWhen I say overconfident, they have high belief in themselves. I want them to have that. When I say overconfidence, they believe in themselves. If someone asks are these guys getting tensed up and nervous? My point is, the guy is throwing a left-handed hook pass on a lob in Rupp doesnít seem too afraid. I want our team to have confidence. I donít think itís necessarily overconfidence. I think they have respected everybody they have played against. Iíve never ever seen these guys go into a game and not have total respect level for who they are playing against. Now, there have been some games where they havenít played well or teams have played very well coming down the stretch against us. I donít sense that from our team that they are overconfident in a bad way. I want them to have an internal belief and confidence in our team.Ē


On giving up double-digit offensive rebounds each of the past eight games

ďThatís a major problem. Major problem. Thatís another area that weíve done a pretty good job. But again, we get outrebounded by Kentucky, that was a problem. Itís been a problem, and we have a full complement of players. I think weíve played some pretty good teams like Wisconsin and Marquette, traveled on the road. Weíve always been anywhere from plus-five to plus-eight on the glass, and youíre exactly right. If thereís one thing, like I was saying a little bit before about a fire, a passion, to me thatís it on the glass. When youíre doing that, when you are hitting and going and chasing balls and you are doing that... When you see our starting center with two rebounds in 24 minutes of play that clearly, to me, is an effort issue. That is an effort issue. Murphy, I had to call timeout and go crazy on him in the Kentucky game after those first two possessions, but the guy went back in there and grabbed nine rebounds. Prather got in there and grabbed rebounds. Yegueteís starting to get back a little bit more to where he was. That is a concern for me. No question, the turnovers and rebounds. I think that when you rebound the ball there is an intensity, there is a passion, a fire there inside your team. Thatís what I think our basketball team has been missing. Youíve mentioned it, I donít know how many games it is, thatís about how long Iíve said that our team has not been practicing. Weíre going to get back to it this week. Weíre putting a bubble up on the basket. That will be one of the things we do. Theyíll have to be able to block out, theyíll be no shots going in. Weíll have to get back to rebounding the ball because I donít think weíre a bad rebounding team but we have been a bad rebounding team. I think in these situations you have to be willing to do things that are very, very uncomfortable that a lot of people donít enjoy doing in order to move on, advance, and win games.Ē


On if this team has veered from where they were on offense

ďI think that because of the injuries and stuff, weíve had to do a lot of different things offensively. Sometimes it seemed like during these 18 games thereís been times where itís changed from game to game to game. Weíve kind of had to play Prather at the power forward spot and then heís playing the small forward spot, and weíve talked about this before. We havenít been able to press as much as Iíd like to press. We havenít played in transition as much. We need to get out in transition more than we have been of late. We need to get back into doing a better job with handling, passing and sharing the ball. Again, I donít know what it was in the Kentucky game we had eight assists. Now, we ended up shooting 40 percent for the game, but going into the last seven minutes of the game we were shooting about a little over 49 percent from the field. Ö We donít have a player that weíre just going to throw the ball to and say go get one, like Erik Murphy needs someone to get it to him in a good spot. Theyíve got to rely on each other. We just donít have that kind of team where you put the ball in Scottieís hands and you say, ĎOK, Scottie, weíre going to clear out. Just take this guy one-on-one.í I think through movement, extra passing, spacing, different schemes, and actions we are running, we can put them in situations where they can drive it, kick it, and pass it. Weíve got to get back to that.Ē

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