Donovan Looking for 'Complete' Effort

Billy Donovan is waiting for his team to put together a complete performance in conference play. The team spent its early season games winning with low point totals and suffocating defense. When the offense picked up the pace earlier this month, the defense started to slack. The Florida head coach is now trying to get his team to put together an all-around performance.

Q: "You said the offense wasn't the problem against South Carolina and that it was the defense. What will it take for it all to come together?"

A: "I thought in the second half, we did a better job defensively. I thought South Carolina was the aggressor. They were more of a physical presence at the basket. That's what you're trying to do every game is get your team to play a complete game. There are so many stats that go into that. There are so many variables, and in this league, you have to play well. We've gotten better offensively, but I've seen some slipping in our defense.

"We're capable of it because we've proven that before the holidays. We can go through a period of time where we play solid defense. The reason we got down by 12 against South Carolina is we shot poorly, and we didn't do a good job defending and they got into transition. When you have a bad shooting first half and don't defend like you need to, you'll be down by double digits and that's what happened to us."

Q: "With turnovers down the last four games, what has improved to help that?"

A: "Our guys have made some better decisions on the perimeter and on the post. A lot of our turnovers were coming in transition when we were trying to do too much and make high risk passes. We've eliminated those. It wasn't so bad earlier, but we were leaving points out there. If you just take four or five of those away, you're going to make better decisions. I think our guys have done that."

Q: "Is this going to be a year where you're never out of the conference race?"

A: "Ole Miss is much improved from a year ago, and Mississippi State will get things together. The West is better than it was a year ago. Last year, the league had Kentucky that was head and shoulders above everybody in the league. There is a tremendous amount of parody. On any given night, anything can happen regardless of who you play.

"We're playing Auburn on Thursday, and they beat Florida State. Now you see Florida State beats Duke. In this league, there is a lot of parody. If you don't come ready to play, you can be in for a long night. It's going to be that way with a lot of ups and downs. Who can handle some losses and who can handle success?"

Q: "After playing South Carolina, what was your take on their team and how they're different without Devan Downey?"

A: "He was one of those unique players that has come through this league. I think that (Bruce) Ellington will end up being a better player. Downey had to score so much and had the ball in his hands so much, and he obviously had some spectacular games in his career. I was thought that (Downey) rested on defense. He was conserving energy to play on the offensive end of the floor.

"Ellington is a more complete player on both ends of the floor, particularly defensively. Downey would kill you with his offense and was very competitive. Ellington's effort defensively is so much better than what Downey was. Ellington has a great presence and great command."

Q: "What are your thoughts on South Carolina center Sam Muldrow?"

A: "He was a great shot blocker. He's shooting the ball more from the perimeter. He's a guy in and around the basket who has the potential to get it going. He's probably the best shot blocker in the league. He was under the radar last year, but he's a tremendous defensive force for them."


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