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April 4, 2014
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'll start with questions for coach.
Q.¬† We talked so much and we heard you talk about Shabazz so much.¬† How important is Ryan Boatright to what they do and how have you seen him as you've watched film since when you guys played them have you seen him grow?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, Shabazz is a great player and he gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so.¬† But I think I said yesterday that it's not just a one‑man team.¬† Boatright is a terrific offensive player, plays with great energy on the defensive end of the floor.¬† Daniels, Brimah, Giffey, they're a whole team.
Now certainly Shabazz has got the ball in his hands.¬† He takes a lot of big shots, makes a lot of big shots, creates a lot for himself and for others.
But Boatright is one of those guys who can do it on his own, too.¬† He's got great ball skills.¬† He's fast.¬† He's a good athlete.¬† He can beat you off the bounce.¬† He can shoot it from behind the line.¬† He's good in pick‑and‑roll.
So it's not a team where you look at them and you say, Well, if you can do a good job on one guy, you're going to be in good shape.¬† They really are a good team.¬† And I think everybody here left playing has multiple ways to win games and certainly Connecticut's no different.
Q.¬† Along those same lines, how much comfort does it give you as a coach to be coaching a team that's arguably one of the more balanced teams in the country, where maybe you don't have to rely as heavily on one person the way UConn does on Napier.¬† As a coach, how much comfort does that give you?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, the one thing I would say with Shabazz, which is a little bit different, is he is a very, very good distributor of the ball.¬† He gets fouled a lot.¬† He gets to the free‑throw line a lot.¬† He opens up things for other guys.¬† I would say Scottie Wilbekin maybe in a different way does some of those similar things for our team as well.
But I think if you look at Connecticut's team, on any given night, Daniels could go for 20, 25; Boatright could get 20 or 25; Giffey, if he's left open, can get 20 or 25.¬† They have enough players that can really score.¬† I've always believed, at least for our system and our style with the way we try to play, we like to be to be balanced.
I would like to have four to six guys in double figures, but because you don't know what a team is going to try to take away from you.¬† When a team takes certain things away from you, you still have to be able to have other guys step up in different situations and provide offense.¬† For the most part, our system is predicated on reading defense.¬† More so than just say, Hey, listen, we're just going to go at this guy and try to get him 30 shots tonight and hopefully they go in.¬† I think we try to read defense and see what's open and available.
Q.¬† Talking to Coach Ollie, he said that he has so much respect for you, called you a future Hall of Famer.¬† What kind of respect level do you have for him, only in his second year bringing this team to the Final Four?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Obviously being a Big East guy and being a little bit older than Kevin, but following the Big East and his career, knowing some people in the NBA, the way they have talked about his leadership quality, I think it's always a challenge and difficult when you take over for a great coach like Jim Calhoun, but I think Kevin has done it in such a class way.
When you play as long as he's played, and you've had the success he's had as a player, he understands for himself what wins and how he wants his team to play and how he wants his team to reflect himself, I've been really, really impressed.¬† His coaching and all those things speak for themselves.
I mean, you can watch his team play.¬† They play hard.¬† They're unselfish.¬† They play together.¬† They have energy and enthusiasm.¬† He's done a great job.¬† What impresses me even more with Kevin is the kind of person he is.¬† Just the way he has incorporated Coach Calhoun, the respect he gives Coach Calhoun as his former coach.¬† I think he's handled that whole situation very, very well.
At the same time he's been able to put his stamp, his fingerprint on Connecticut's basketball program the last two years.¬† He's an outstanding coach and a great guy.¬† I've got equally as much respect for him, and all the way around, the way he runs his program and the kind of guy he is and obviously what he's done coaching.
Q.¬† You've coached a lot of extraordinarily talented teams, but never one with the type of expectations that John Calipari had coming into this season.¬† I'm curious, as a coach, how you put into perspective Kentucky's up‑and‑down season and how they have handled those sort of expectations.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, we had it in 2007.¬† Our whole starting five came back off a National Championship and we started preseason No. 1 and we had to deal with that.
I think a lot of times, and I've used this as an example before, I've got an enormous amount of respect for Andrew Wiggins as a player.¬† I've seen Andrew Wiggins play a lot.¬† Andrew Wiggins is no different than any young player.¬† It's going to take him some time to reach his fullest potential.
But it's interesting in the preseason how everyone is going to talk about who is going to dump games in the NBA to get Andrew Wiggins.¬† He's a terrific player, but he's just not changing a franchise once he gets there.¬† I think what happens sometimes young players coming in, people fail to realize that there's a growth period that they have to go through and there are some learning curves and there's some up‑and‑downs that they all have to go through.
So sometimes when you have some veteran guys around some younger guys, maybe the fall isn't as hard.¬† For example, Chris Walker, Kasey Hill, two freshman, really talented players, have been able to kind of have the help of some older guys.
So there is a growth period that I don't think anybody necessarily escapes.¬† Now there are guys like a Bradley Beal, like an Anthony Davis, that have come through the SEC that are just so good, they have got it kind of figured out, and they can impact the game right away.¬† But for most guys, it's a process they have to go through.
Q.¬† You talked yesterday about thinking that something needs to be done for the players in terms of increasing the benefits or making it more fair.¬† What do you think about the amount of money that you make compared to what the kids do and don't get?¬† As a coach and former player in this tournament, are you ever concerned that some of the issues today could affect this or make it go away or change what has become the NCAA tournament as we know it now?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Yeah, I'm not saying that the system is always fair or right.¬† I think in any system you can look at it and say, Is it fair and right?¬† I think that's why change is good.¬† I think that's why people look at what's right, what's wrong, what we can do.
This is what I think has happened from an evolution from when I played.¬† When I played in this event 26 years ago, there was a meaning about playing for Providence College.¬† There was a meaning and a value, back then it was glorified that you just got a scholarship to college, that your family didn't have to pay for your education.¬† You needed your degree to move on.¬† Representing your school and your school colors and putting a college uniform on and representing the Big East, there were a lot of those things 26 years ago that were really valuable.
I think what's happened now is because of the opportunity to earn money in the game of basketball, those opportunities are far greater than they were 26 years ago.¬† A lot of kids now look at this as, I've got an earning window to make money playing this game, and really in a lot of ways I have a lifetime to get my degree and I can never earn as much money with my degree coming out of college that I could if I took an overseas job.
Forget the NBA.¬† We have had guys that have been at Florida that have been well over six figures as it relates to contracts.¬† That's not even in the NBA.¬† So there's an opportunity, they say, Listen, my body, my talent, all those kind of things.
So I think when you talk about all those things there, we have set up a system in our country that we have brought academics and athletics together as an avenue for a player to get to where he wants to get to.
I understand the D‑league has been formed and people say, Well, you can go to the D‑league, but really in essence the way the system is set up, it's set up that guys have got to go to school.¬† They got to represent.¬† That's the best way.¬† Right now, probably the most logical way for these guys to pursue a professional career.
I think you'll start to see, probably down the road, some things change.¬† I don't know what the solutions are, I don't know what the answers are, but I think certainly a lot more can be done for the student‑athletes.
Q.¬† In the age of one‑and‑done, you have four four‑and‑dones in your lineup.¬† Is that by design or by coincidence?¬† Would you take a one‑and‑done, somebody who was projected to be one‑and‑done?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I get asked this a lot.¬† I cannot, as a coach, forecast a player's future.¬† For instance, after Joakim Noah's freshman year, I would have said there's no way in the world that this guy is going to be a first‑round draft pick after his sophomore year and he would have been the No. 1 player taken in the draft.
I would have said the same thing after Marreese Speights's freshman year, that there's no way this guy's going to be able to leave after his sophomore year, first‑round draft pick.¬† As a coach, you never know.
Now there's certain guys you do know when you recruit them.¬† I knew Bradley Beal was probably going to be a guy a couple years ago that was going to be here shortly.
Patric Young had an opportunity for three straight years to leave.¬† He probably would have gone in the first round after his freshman year.¬† He decided to come back.
So some players you're you just don't know.¬† It's not necessarily by recruiting design where I look at a high school kid and say, Okay, great, let's recruit this kid because he's going to be here for four years.¬† I thought Calathes would be a guy that would stay on our campus for three or four years and he took an overseas job after his sophomore year.
You don't know as a coach.¬† These guys make decisions, and a lot of times, you don't know how fast they develop or you don't know what kind of opportunities are put in front of them to make those kind of choices.
Q.¬† Two part question.¬† One, Rob Lanier described you as a serial question‑asker, especially as it pertained to scouting reports on opponents.¬† I wonder if you could explain that first.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Yeah, I think the best way for me to learn is to try to be a good question‑asker.¬† I think there's a lot of value in being able to do that.¬† I think being able to open up opportunities inside your staff for guys to talk freely.¬† I think a lot of times when you have an assistant coach talking to a head coach, sometimes they're a lot more guarded in terms of what they believe or really feel or think.¬† I think as a coach, it is my responsibility to put them in a situation where they have the opportunity to express themselves.
For me, asking a lot of questions in scouting is a way.¬† Why do you want to guard it this way?¬† Why do you want to do that?¬† Why?¬† What about this?¬† What about that?¬† And what ends up happening is when you ask questions like that, you find out how convicted a person is to what he really believes.¬† That's probably what I'm looking for more than anything else, is how convicted are you in what you believe.
So I think it's a great way to learn.¬† I think it's a great way for somebody to feel comfortable to express themselves, their ideas and their thoughts.¬† Maybe it's an idiosyncrasy of mine, but I do ask a lot of questions.
Q.¬† To follow‑up, are you still somewhat intrigued by the NBA or do you feel like you've got a comfort zone at Florida and I want to break John Wooden's records?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I never look at it like that.¬† I'm very, very happy at Florida.¬† The question I get asked all the time is, you know, the intrigue for me for the NBA is it's basketball 24 hours a day.¬† I was a basketball junkie.¬† I was a gym rat as a player.¬† I love the game.
We talk about this all the at time.¬† Whenever the season ends, you're kind of lost for a little while.¬† There's no film to watch.¬† There's really no practices to prepare for.¬† As a coach, I think all of us in college, we love that.
That's the thing that intrigues, I think, any coach is that the NBA is just straight basketball.¬† You're just dealing with straight basketball, and that's what I love.¬† So that was the part that's exciting or intriguing when you look at that part of it.
Q.¬† Talk about Frazier's work ethic.¬† He puts up like 400 shots before the game, although he hasn't really been lights out during the tournament?¬† And how important is his three‑point shooting to what you do?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Michael is as hard of a working kid as I've been around.¬† He really, really works at shooting the basketball.¬† I never have to worry about dragging him into the gym or getting him extra shots.¬† He really, really, really, really works at it.¬† He's got a great ability to shoot the ball.¬† Our team, myself, we feel very confident when he shoots the ball.
But like anything else, it's like a guy hitting a baseball.¬† There's going to be some nights he shoots it at a unbelievable high level and there's going to be some nights where maybe he doesn't shoot it as well.
But we have confidence in Michael when he does shoot the basketball. ¬†And I think that for anybody when shots go in, it's not just our team, I think it helps any team.
Q.¬† Talk about what Scottie has been doing this week in practice to prepare to matchup against Shabazz, and what problems Shabazz might present for Scottie on the offensive end.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I've always said this, and I do believe this, I believe great offense always beats great defense.¬† Shabazz is a great offensive player.¬† And Scottie is a great defensive player.¬† But Scottie is not going to be able to deal with Shabazz one‑on‑one.¬† We have been a team that's played collectively as a group on the defensive end of the floor.
Scottie's going to need help because Kevin puts Shabazz in a lot of situations that he's coming off screens, he's in pick‑and‑rolls with the floor spread.¬† To put Scottie on an island and expect him all by himself to handle him, Shabazz is just too gifted offensively.¬† So it's got to be a group effort.¬† For everybody.¬† Not only him.¬† It's got to be a group effort against DeAndre Daniels, against Boatright, against Giffey, against just their entire team.¬† It's got to be a group effort.
It can't be Scottie versus Shabazz and Michael Frazier versus Boatright and Will Yeguete, that's not who we've been and that's not how we have played this year.
Q.¬† Talk about the correlations between the two programs and the fact that UConn has been to the Final Four three of the last five, you've won a couple, banging on the Elite8.¬† Talk about that and the significance of these two programs going up in this semifinal.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I know for us to make deep runs in the NCAA tournament's really, really hard.¬† I know a lot of people looked at the last three years and said, Geez, I haven't been able to get to the Final Four.¬† And imagine if we have been to the Final Four the last three years, they're saying, Geez, they just couldn't get to the National Championship game plan.¬† It never really ends.
But if you really take a step back and realize how hard it is what our team has done going to four Elite8, I don't know how many schools in the country have done that.¬† Certainly we're disappointed when it ends.¬† We're not any different than anybody else.¬† We want to play all the way through to Monday.
But what our guys have done in terms of establishing a level of consistency, because you could be better from one year to the next and be ousted out of the tournament being a better team.¬† It's a one‑shot game.¬† Anything can happen.¬† That's why I think people are so captivated by watching the tournament.
I think UConn's kind of done the same thing in a lot of ways.¬† When Jim Calhoun was there, I was playing at Providence, and actually played against his team when he was a head coach at Northeastern.¬† He took that program and built it up and he got to several Elite8s.¬† They had a hard time.¬† Then they had a breakthrough, and they got to the Final Four and they have won several national championships and Kevin has just picked up and continued on that tradition.
Q.¬† Going back to your seniors, is there a certain pride that this team, I mean the old fashioned way, stuck together, nobody left, they all realized they had work to do every year?¬† Is there a certain pride about watching a team grow like this?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† They have learned some valuable lessons on the court, no question, being here for four years at Florida.¬† But the thing I'm much, much more pleased with is they have got a lot of experiences that were very difficult and very challenging that I think is going to take them to the next step in their life.¬† They're going to be able to handle life's adversity a lot better.¬† It wasn't always easy for them.
I give them credit for being persistent, for staying the course, for dealing with their personal struggles and challenges to try to overcome them, to battle them, to deal with them, to deal with them head‑on.
I think a lot of times as players when you're heavily recruited and things are not going well, it's easy to deflect, It's not my fault, it's someone else's fault.¬† This has never happened to me.¬† The fact that they looked themselves in the mirror and said, Here's an area I need to change, here's where I need to get better.¬† I think if they can keep that approach once they leave here, I think they're going to be so much better off.
So, yes, it's very rewarding to see those guys stick with it and obviously have success that's translated on to the court as well.
Q.¬† Sometimes recruits just don't work out.¬† So how do you know when you found your guy, when he's in your program that you know this is a guy that can be here and can buy in?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Within the first three weeks I can tell.¬† Now, he may not be, talent‑wise, where we want him and he needs to get better, but attitude‑wise, I know within the first three weeks whether this is going to work or not.¬† First month.¬† Practice starts, and everybody's excited.¬† Okay.
Then when the excitement of practice wears off, they're dealing with fatigue.¬† They're having to push through.¬† It's the first time they have played against high‑level competition on a regular basis.¬† Their work ethic gets exposed, who they are gets exposed.¬† Their attitude gets exposed.
Then when you start handing out minutes and maybe they're not playing as much as they want to or hoped for, you start to see some things there.¬† I'm not saying that guys don't change, but you can tell, attitude‑wise, okay, this is going to be a problem.¬† This is going to need to be addressed.
Then there's some other guys you know, like, Wow, this kid really has got a chance to be really good.¬† Now he may not be where he's at talent‑wise, we'll help him get better with his skill set and those things, but a lot of times you can tell right away how a player handles adversity, how they handle coaching, how they handle practice, fatigue, being worn down, competition.
I tell our guys this all the time.¬† There's three things that don't get freshmen on the floor:¬† One, they don't compete hard enough, they don't understand how hard they have to play.¬† Two, they're not physically competitive enough to put their bodies in place.¬† Three is they have no idea what we're doing.¬† They're just lost.¬† It's happening too fast.¬† If you're missing any one of those three things for us, it's really hard to get on the floor and play a lot of minutes.
Now that's not to say that those things could not get better, but those things getting better are totally predicated on what is the player's disposition, attitude towards addressing those things.¬† I think for our older guys, as Ron talked about, those guys had to address those things and they got better at them.
THE MODERATOR:¬† We'd like to welcome the student‑athletes and will take questions for anyone on the podium.
Q.¬† I actually have a two‑part question.¬† One a specific matchup, obviously so much of the focus is on Shabazz Napier, and everybody says that Frank Kaminsky was quite possible the most difficult matchup because he's got an inside‑outside game.¬† So does DeAndre Daniels.¬† I was wondering what you feel the necessary approach to contain him will be?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, I think one of the things that ends up happening with DeAndre is Kevin does a very, very good job putting the ball a lot of times in Napier's hands.¬† When the floor rotates and it moves and you have to try to provide help, a lot of times when the ball gets thrown to Daniels, he's in a lot of very, very vulnerable situations from a defensive standpoint.¬† You have to run to him, he can shoot threes, he can put it on the floor and get in the lane.¬† If you switch him a lot, he has the ability to go into the low post and post up smaller guards.
I think a lot of times they can give the ball to Shabazz and he can play up top and just create and make plays.¬† DeAndre I think gets it a lot more off their actions because you're forced to leave and help.¬† When the ball gets back in his hands, now you're in a very vulnerable situation and that will be something that I think will be a challenge for us tomorrow.
Q.¬† Billy, what's the confidence level of yourself and the team heading into this matchup, knowing how close you guys played UConn earlier in the season and you were quite short‑handed?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I think that the confidence level our team has has been what it's been really the entire year.¬† These guys understand what goes into playing and competing, they're really good as it relates to scouting report and preparation.¬† I think they understand how hard they have to play, how well they have to play defensively together, offensively together.
So I think that the things that go into that, you got to believe you can do.¬† Our guys I think have great belief and confidence in one another, that the things that we can control inside the process of each possession, I think that they believe in one another and in getting the job done each possession collectively as a group.
Q.¬† A little bit ago you were talking about being a question‑asker.¬† Our job is asking questions.¬† Obviously, I'm curious if you were us, what's the question you've never been asked that you would like to have somebody ask you?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Wow.¬† Good question.¬† You're probably a good question‑asker.
Oh, I really don't know.¬† I don't know.¬† I've been asked a lot of different questions, so there really hasn't been too much I haven't had a chance to talk about.¬† So I don't know what that would be.
But you definitely stumped me for a non‑answer.
Q.¬† You've got about six to seven guys on your roster that played high school basketball in that Central Florida area.¬† Why do you recruit that area so hard and how much of an impact does that Greater Orlando area have on your basketball program?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, it's been a very, very fruitful area for us.¬† It's a good area.¬† We have had some players, Chandler, Nick Calathes, Scottie being from Gainesville, it's been a very, very good area.
So it's not like we're just targeting that.¬† We have always tried to do a good job in the state of Florida recruiting.¬† Patric being from Jacksonville is not far away, and Kasey Hill same thing, not far away.¬† Chris Walker, a little bit more up in the Panhandle.¬† But I think there's been good players in our state spread throughout the state.¬† There's been some very good players in South Florida, as well as Central Florida.
Q.¬† Billy and Patric, so much talk about defending Napier.¬† How important is it to focus on the other guys just as much as it is Napier?
PATRIC YOUNG:¬† Well, I think in this situation that we are right now, we're going against a really hot team, offensively and defensively.¬† It's going to take a team focus, making sure we're all doing our jobs, helping the helpers.¬† That's one of the key concepts and principles.
But we know when the ball goes in Napier's hands, he's their go‑to guy, their playmaker, especially in the clock.¬† But if we can limit him or even if he does what he does and we can limit the other guys from doing what they do, I think we put ourself in a good position to win the game.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Like Patric said, the one thing, Napier is a terrific player because he doesn't do it only scoring.¬† He also creates opportunities for the other guys, too.¬† The other guys are very, very good players.¬† So when you're running to Daniels, running to Boatright, or you're having to rotate inside on Brimah, those guys are issues when you're having to do those things.¬† Generally it stems from Boatright and from Napier, what they're doing up top.
Q.¬† A question on one topic for Billy and for Patric.¬† It's about the days when things looked like they might come unraveled between Scottie and the program.¬† Scottie was asked about it and he said things are a little bit overblown, but it's only because it's such a great story.¬† So, Billy, really, how close to the end was it?¬† And for Patric, for the other players, while this was going on, what were you guys feeling while this was potentially unraveling?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I do agree with Scottie.¬† Days had passed by.¬† The story grows to be greater and greater.¬† Scottie and I, I think the first thing to start with is I've known him since he's probably, I don't know, seven, eight, nine years old.¬† He played with my son, came to our camps, know his family very well.¬† So there's been a long relationship with Scottie.
Now, I presented him the opportunity to leave if he wanted to start over fresh.¬† He didn't want to.¬† But I felt like he needed to restore his credibility back inside the team and he, to his credit, did a phenomenal job with that.
But it wasn't one of those things where it was a two‑week suspension and he came back to our team.¬† There was things he needed to do.¬† It was a long suspension for him away from our team.¬† But he showed and proved and did everything that he needed to do, I think, to regain the trust of the coaching staff and the players on the team.¬† He deserves all the credit because he's the one that did it.
There was never a point where I think Patric or any of the players ever came to me and said, We don't want him on our team anymore, get rid of him, he's no good.¬† They have always loved Scottie.¬† But I think they wanted to see him kind of be more committed to the group and which he made a strong commitment to doing those things.
PATRIC YOUNG:¬† Well, I think from the initial news and shock, we all had a level of disappointment and just didn't know what was going to happen next.¬† But when Scottie said that he wanted to stick through it and stay with us, I mean, we couldn't imagine him going anywhere else or what the next year would be like if Scottie would have left.
We just knew that he was going to prove to each and everyone of us, the coaching staff, that through the whole process, whatever coach asked him to do, that he was going to stick with it.¬† Once we have seen how committed he was to this team again, to be where he wanted to be, that we all just embraced him and wanted him to come back to us and just know that we forgive him.¬† We accept him.¬† Let's move forward and get the job done.
Q.¬† For Billy, I want to ask you about your personal workout regimen with Preston, how intense the sessions are and what you get out of it beyond physical fitness.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, I trust him to handle that.¬† These guys always make fun of me a little bit.¬† They always tell me I don't work hard enough.¬† Right?¬† I feel better when I do do it.¬† I try to work out with him three days a week in terms of lifting and I'll do another three days a week of cardio.¬† I feel better.¬† I think I'm a better coach, better person, and better all the way around.¬† I feel better about myself just health‑wise.
The biggest thing for me which I really do like is I like the competitiveness part of it.¬† Even when you do conditioning, there's always some kind of goal or something we got to do.¬† It's lifting, there's always some kind of goal.¬† He always tells me, I walk down, you're not going to be able to complete the workout, it is way too hard for you.¬† Then it gets going back and forth and it gets competitive.
So I like that part of it, too, but I think more than anything else with as demanding as the job is, traveling and coaching and recruiting and all this stuff, I don't know if you can do it well if you don't really take care of yourself.¬† I think that's been important for me.
Q.¬† Talk about Casey's development as a player this year.¬† Scottie, can you talk about what you tried to impart on him as far as what he needs to do to gets to the next level?
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN:¬† Yeah, I just tried to give him pointers here and there.¬† If I see something that I've been through being here for four years, and mostly on defense, because from the high school level to the college level, the defense changes a lot.¬† There's a lot more schemes.¬† It's more complex, what you need to do as a defender on the ball and as a help defender.
So I just try to give him pointers, help him here and there.¬† But he does a great job of wanting to learn and accepting coaching from coach and just pointers from me.¬† So it's been a joy to play with him.
COACH DONOVAN:¬† I think that the biggest thing for me with Casey has been he's always been a great kid, and a good worker.¬† But I think like a lot of guys, he came in, and probably a lot of people in his head or people close to him about what he needed to do to take the next step to get to the next level, and a lot of that was you need to shoot threes.¬† He spent a lot of time working on his shot, and I really felt like coming out of his sophomore year, end of his sophomore year, he started to figure it out.
What was bad for him last year was the concussions and some injuries that really held him back from having the kind of year that he could have like he is having this year.¬† But he's playing to his identity, which is the biggest thing.¬† He's playing to his strengths and there's so many other things he does besides shooting the basketball that impacts and helps our team.¬† When he's asked to do those things, he's playing more to his identity.
Q.¬† A two‑part question for you on Patric.¬† Now that you've had him for a lot of games, what do you think his place in Florida basketball history has been?¬† He's put off the NBA so much, how do you think his skill level will translate to the NBA once he gets there?
COACH DONOVAN:¬† Well, I think along with Patric, I think these guys up here, especially these four seniors, they have won more games than anybody in the history of our program.¬† They have won three out of four SEC championships.¬† They have made deep runs to the tournament.¬† I mean, I think these guys will go down as good of a collection of guys as we have had.
As it relates to Patric, I don't think there's any question that he has a professional career playing.¬† I believe he will be in the NBA.¬† He's gotten so much better.¬† He's worked extremely hard to get where he's at right now.¬† I'm proud of how consistent he's been this year.
I think earlier in his career that was probably the one thing that was lacking, was a level of consistency.¬† He's gotten so much more consistent.¬† I think he's been great for Chris Walker.¬† Chris is very fortunate to have a guy around him like Patric because he's very, very much an unselfish guy and a team guy.
The other part I would say, for Patric, is I give him a lot of credit for making decisions regarding his career in terms of what he wanted to do.¬† I see a lot of people and a lot of the kids make really some poor decisions because they're influenced by other people and the wrong people.¬† I give credit to Patric that he self‑evaluated, really looked at his values, what was important to him.¬† Every year he's had an opportunity to leave and he's elected to come back.
Certainly we're happy he's come back every year.¬† I love coaching him.¬† If he wanted to leave, I would have supported him.¬† But the one thing I admire is Patric did what he thought was best for himself and you think that that's always a good thing.
THE MODERATOR:¬† All right.¬† Thank you.
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