Donovan Hopes to Stabilize Staff

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan is less concerned about the number of players leaving the program than most Gator fans are. The Gator head man said his greater concern is about getting stability into a coaching staff that has had unusual turnover in the past four years.

Since winning the program's first NCAA Title in 2006, Donovan has seen Anthony Grant, Donnie Jones, Lewis Preston and Shaka Smart all move on. He said that kind of turnover has a major impact on every aspect of the program; more so than any players leaving does.

"Players come and go. That happens all the time in every program around the country. It doesn't necessarily mean that the player's wrong or the coach is wrong; people move and change all the time that's kind of the way it is. But what's probably been more difficult for me than anything is the amount of coaching turnover the last four years. (You have) someone constantly coming in new and trying to balance the recruiting and who you want to go after. That has been really challenging.

Donovan said the coaching turnover combined with early entries to the NBA has made it extremely difficult to put the kind of team on the floor that he would like to.

"When you talk about losing eight guys to the NBA and Nick could be number nine over the last (five) years and then you talk about losing four assistant coaches there's going to be some uncertainty there. We have got to do a better job, in my opinion in recruiting. But some of the recruiting has not necessarily been anyone's fault because there's been a lot of turnover there."

Donovan said he expects to fill the void on his current staff very soon.

"I've got a couple of guys (in mind). I think I'm moving much closer to doing something here. I'm hopeful that I would be able to get something done in the next day or two. I've got to leave and go on the road recruiting. We have about five more days that we can be out."

Donovan heads back on the road Thursday afternoon for the final five days that coaches can be on the road. Look for the Gators to begin hosting some of the nation's top unsigned players in the next couple of weeks. Despite the departure of Alex Tyus, Donovan says adding a big man is not his priority. He says with Vernon Macklin, Dan Werner, Kenny Kadji, Eloy Vargas and newcomer Erik Murphy there are enough big guys on the roster.

"Murphy comes in and hopefully Eloy and Kenny can make some strides so there is some depth there. We really only have one guy in Dan Werner that has played significant minutes. For most of Vernon's career the two years he was there (Georgetown) he didn't play a lot. I would probably be more concerned with the depth in our backcourt. I do think that Nick (Calathes) right now it would go either way/ He could leave and stay in the draft or he could come back. But is he's not back then you have Erving Walker and Ray Shipman and Kenny Boynton so you probably need another perimeter guy to be out there, at least another ball handler. I think that's something we would really look at."

Florida is now two scholarships below the limit of 13, so look for the Gators to add at least one perimeter player and possibly two. The Gators have been mentioned with North Carolina prep star John Wall along with Eric Bledsoe from Birmingham, Alabama and JUCO standout Rico Pickett from Miami. If the Gators could add two of those three, Florida will have a deeper, more athletic perimeter regardless of Calathes' eventual decision.

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