Donovan SEC teleconference transcript

The Gators have more time off than usual before hitting the road to face Alabama on Thursday. Florida is the only 4-0 team during Southeastern Conference play and has won nine straight games, but Donovan still sees room for improvement in the assist-to-turnover numbers. The Gators will have a chance to improve it against a tough Crimson Tide defense on Thursday night.

What are your thoughts on Alabama?

"Well we've got a little bit of a longer week on the front end here with not playing until Thursday. You look at Alabama now, and the first thing that stands out is the fact of the schedule they've played. I think they have played the most difficult schedule in our league and probably one of the most difficult schedules in the country. When you look at their record, I don't think how good they are as a team that the record really reflects that. When you clearly play the teams they've played home and away, that's going to happen. I know there's been a huge emphasis by our league to beef up these non-conference schedules and I don't think there's a team that has done a better job of that than Alabama."

How valuable is it to have four seniors at Florida?

"The biggest thing is they know what to expect in terms of what the league is like, what it's like to go on the road. They've got some experiences under their belt. I don't think just because you're older that necessarily means you're better. What you do is have information and experience that allows you to be better. Your experiences as a player and as seniors are directly reflected of how you view those experiences. If you view those experiences the wrong way, then you won't make great strides or improvement. If you view the experiences in a way that's going to help you grow and get better, then it's good. We've had some times where our guys didn't view their experiences like they needed to. We've had times when they've looked at their experiences and has helped them. I'm happy the guys have had the experiences they've had. As a coaching staff, you try to help them use them in a way that's going to make them better."

Did you imagine all four would stay for four years when you recruited them?

"You don't know. In today's day and age with the way things are, there are certain guys that leave earlier than expected. Patric Young had every opportunity to leave after his freshman, sophomore and junior years. He clearly would've gone in the first round. For him, the college experience and his degree was something that he and his family value a great deal. That's what you want him to do. A guy like Brad Beal was very gifted academically as a pre-med major had an opportunity to go very early in the draft and made the decision to go. You don't know how quickly sometimes that guys develop. I didn't think after his freshman year that Marreese Speights or Joakim Noah would evolve their play that they did into where they were as sophomores. A lot of times, you just don't know. It's been great to have these guys come in together and finish together."

Any update on Chris Walker?

"No, no update."

Anything you can take from being the only undefeated team left in the league?

"Not really. We'll play an 18-game schedule which obviously isn't a balanced schedule as we all know. Right now, we'll move onto the next game. We've got to prepare to play Alabama. Our record has nothing to do with the preparation and what we've got to do on Thursday. We're happy we're 4-0, but right now, it doesn't mean a whole lot. It's about our team getting better and reaching where we think we're getting to our full potential as a team."

You've won 16 straight SEC games in January. What goes into a streak like that?

"I don't know. I think sometimes you can get teams in different times where maybe they're better than they were. We played Georgia very early in the conference schedule last year and played them twice and won both games. But I think they were a basketball team late that was a totally different team than when we played them. Sometimes it's timing. Sometimes teams get a whole lot better and improve. Alabama is a perfect example of that. We played them last year late in the schedule and they had difficulties in November and December, then we were down by eight points with eight minutes to go in the game. They continued to get better. I don't know if it's anything we do. Every game is just different. Sometimes teams are playing better than others."

What would you like your team to improve?

"I think we're an unselfish team, and I think our stats like assist-to-turnover ratio have not really reflected that. We're a team that, because of some injuries and suspensions, we're still getting used to playing with each other. When you take Rosario, Boynton and Murphy off our team and add in some new players, it takes time to form some chemistry on the court. Some of the chemistry has been disrupted because we've had different guys out. It's going to take us some time to continue to play, utilize each other's strengths and talents to be better as a team. I think that's going to take a little longer for us because of what we've had to deal with early in the year."


Fightin Gators Top Stories