Unique Situation for Donovan on Thursday

Billy Donovan's name won't only be announced over the loudspeakers once Thursday night. The Florida head coach is in a different position, as his son, also Billy, is a member of the Catholic University team that comes to Gainesville for an exhibition game. After sitting in the stands rooting for his dad's team, the younger Donovan will now be on the court.

It was actually the idea of the Catholic University coaching staff to set up the game. They called the Florida coaches, but Donovan wasn't sure how his son would feel in that situation. After the two talked it over, the older Donovan agreed to make the matchup happen.

However, it's Billy's wife, Christine, who might have the most trouble with the matchup.

"It's hard for her," the Florida head coach said. "She just wants him to have a good experience and everything to go well. I don't know if she's wearing Catholic stuff. I think she's just happy it's an exhibition game and it doesn't count."

Donovan joked that his son had "no interest in playing" under his father after graduating from St. Francis Catholic High School in Gainesville. Instead, he chose Catholic in Washington, D.C., the perfect place for the younger Donovan to pursue his degree in political science. The opportunities to get a job after college and an internship during the summer were too tough to turn down.

"He has always been level headed and realistic," Donovan said. "He loves basketball and works hard at it. I think he realizes in terms of playing, there probably won't be a future for him after college. He's a lot more well rounded than I was. I was pretty much one thing (basketball) and that was it. I admire that because he's balanced. (Christine) and I are just proud of him for the type of kid he is."

The younger Donovan played in 19 games as a freshman at Catholic last season, averaging just 4.3 minutes a game. He isn't listed as a starter for Catholic on Thursday night, but when he comes into the game, the Florida head coach joked about a special strategy to slow down his son.

"We're going box and one tomorrow," Donovan said with a laugh about a defense designed to stop one scorer. "My buddies all tell me that they bet he's going to get 25 against us."

INJURY UPDATE: The Gators will be without backup point guard Scottie Wilbekin on Thursday night. He recently broke the index finger on his right hand. Donovan said that Wilbekin could play if he was needed, but with it just being an exhibition game, there isn't any reason to push him.

"The feeling is to hold him out and that's what I think will happen," Donovan said. "He has done some stuff in practice in limited contact. It's his index finger and doesn't require surgery, so it'll just be about how he feels. He has been able to do more each day."

Every other player is healthy enough and expected to play.

PREPARING FOR CATHOLIC: Donovan announced the starting lineup for Thursday night of point guard Erving Walker, shooting guard Kenny Boynton, small forward Brad Beal, power forward Erik Murphy and center Patric Young.

Donovan is now focused on the execution of the team. Performing in practice is important as the Gators prepare to open the season, but once the lights go on and there's a crowd in the stands, that's when Donovan wants to judge the maturity of his team.

"Guys like Patric (Young), Erik Murphy, Will Yeguete, Cody Larson, Casey Prather and Brad Beal, they were in such small roles a year ago," Donovan said. "None of them ever stated. There's a different feeling they need to go through and get accustomed to."

Putting Beal in the starting lineup wasn't a tough call for Donovan. The freshman has been mature enough through practice that the Gators have confidence he can be an immediate starter.

"He has been absorbing everything pretty well," Donovan said. "He's more advanced than most freshman, in terms of being in the routine and understanding what to get done. He's a talented, gifted player, but he has been unfazed by what he has gone through. It hasn't all been easy. He has a good understanding and feel for what we're trying to do.

"The older guys have helped him, and he has remained humble. That has helped build our chemistry."

Starting Beal, Boynton and Walker means that Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario will come off the bench. Donovan was quick to point out that the starting lineup Thursday doesn't mean anything about how the Gators open the season or how the lineup will look in conference play.

Donovan still wants Rosario to play more consistent.

"I hadn't talked to Mike about that at all," Donovan said. "He has started a lot. The biggest thing for Mike is to be more consistent every day. The starting lineup tomorrow doesn't mean it will hold true for the first game. That all can change."

REVIEWING THE SCRIMMAGE: The Gators scrimmaged UCF on Sunday in a game that wasn't open to the media or public. Florida won the scrimmage, but there were still aspects that needed to be improved.

The Gators shouldn't have much trouble scoring the ball this season, but Florida was -8 in the rebounding margin.

"We have an opportunity to be an explosive scoring team, but at the same point, we got outrebounded," Donovan said. "Nothing taking away from UCF because they're a strong, athletic team, but we're going to face bigger, stronger front lines than UCF. That was disappointing to me."

Donovan was also upset with how the Gators took care of the ball. Florida turned the ball over 21 times while scoring 79 points.

"Offensively, I was pleased but I thought we were careless with the ball and turned it over too much," Donovan said. "That happens this time of year."


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