Donovan Expects Adversity to be Handled

After the positive reports out of the first week of basketball practice for the Gators, they hit their first bump on Wednesday. Head coach Billy Donovan gave the team an off day on Tuesday, but he wasn't happy with the way they took the court the following day. This provides the first opportunity for the team to respond to some adversity in the offseason.

"We had been really good the first five days, but coming off an off day, (Wednesday) was by far the worst day we've had as a group," Billy Donovan said. "I didn't think our guys handled the adversity of practice well. That's an area we've got to get a lot better at. I didn't feel that the attention to detail was there."

Donovan hasn't questioned the effort of his team since practice began, but their focus was elsewhere on Wednesday.

This is usually a tough part of practice for most teams. The glow from the beginning of practice has passed, but the first exhibition game is still two weeks away. This two-week stretch provides the first glimpse at the tough moments of the season. The players don't always want to start practice, but this is where the head coach expects leaders to emerge.

"You're into the grind now," Donovan said. "A lot of times, guys get cranky. From a maturity standpoint, we've got to move past those things. Our season is so long that a lot of days, you won't feel great. You've still got to have the mental toughness to work through those things. We need to get better when things aren't going well.

Donovan is a firm believer in making his team watch as much film as possible. After their below average practice on Wednesday, the team watched the practice again on film to see what went wrong.

Watching practice again gave the team a different perspective. It gives them a chance to see Donovan's angle of practice, the things he did and didn't like.

"I think it's good that it happened yesterday because our guys got an opportunity to see it and correct it," Donovan said. "It's never smooth sailing. I'd rather find out now what we're dealing with going into this. I never thought every practice would be great."

INJURY UPDATE: Florida forward Erik Murphy took a finger to the eye that caused him to sit out for most of Wednesday's practice. His eye was scratched, creating enough swelling that Murphy wasn't able to open his eye. He saw a doctor and was cleared to return on Thursday.

BACKCOURT CHEMISTRY: The potential issues of chemistry in the backcourt have been the main focus for the Gators early in practice. Through a week of practices, Donovan doesn't see any major concerns.

"Our guys are trying to play the right way," Donovan said. "That's something that has been there. We've talked a lot about it and they've seen film of it. It's not the extra pass part of it. It's an understanding on the court of how to take advantage of the personnel you're playing with."

There are times when Donovan sees the guards playing "on their own little island." This is most frequent during practices like Wednesday when things aren't going well. Players try to take over instate of leaning on the other scorers on the court.

Donovan said that Erving Walker has still taken the third fewest shots on the team through this point of practice, as the point guard is now more focused on getting others involved. Center Patric Young leads the team in shots, but Donovan said it's not by a drastic margin.

INSTALLATION HALTED: The first week has allowed the Florida coaches to install plenty on offense, defense and in-bounds plays. Donovan is comfortable with the knowledge that the players have of the offense, but that's what he expected with so many returning players.

"What we need to do now is work on the installation of how to get better," Donovan said. "I'm fortunate because Brad has picked things up quickly and Walter is still learning things, but most of the guys are coming back, and there's not a lot drastically new for them now. I'm not dealing with five new players.

"We could play in a game now. There's enough in offensively and defensively. I don't know how good we would be in a game, but there is enough in."


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