Donovan: Shipman Would be Welcomed Back

Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan said while he understands Ray Shipman's decision to transfer, he does not have any problem with Shipman having a change of heart and deciding to remain with the Gators. Donovan went through the same thing with Alex Tyus a year ago and I asked him if Ray came to him, how would he react?

"I would take Ray Shipman back in a heartbeat. Ray is always welcome here. I think that any time a player handles themselves the way Ray did, and I thought he did it with great class. I think it was hard for him during the year. I think he wanted to play more, (and) wanted to contribute more. He never had a bad attitude. He tried to come to practice. He tried to do everything we asked him to do."

While Shipman's unhappiness has no similarity to the Tyus situation, it is virtually identical to something Donovan went through just 11 years ago.

"Major Parker wanted the same thing. He was playing behind Mike Miller and he wanted a bigger role. Major wanted to stay here and he wanted to try to figure out how to contribute more. He made a decision to stay. Ray Shipman is in the same situation that Major Parker was and Major decided to make a different decision than Ray did. Neither one is right and neither one is wrong. It's just what they decided to do."

Donovan said whenever a player begins the process of transferring they learn a great deal about themselves and the opportunities (or lack thereof) that may or may not exist elsewhere. He said players that look around and change their mind(s) about leaving can benefit from that experience.

"I think like anything else as a player when you go out there and explore your opportunities and situations if he thinks, you know what I want to come back I think that sometimes that epiphany, when they come back they actually get a lot better."

If you needed any proof of the sincerity of Donovan's comments you wouldn't have far to look. Just stop by the Gators' practice facility during individual instruction sessions. You'll see Billy Donovan is still coaching Ray Shipman.

"We're working out our guys today (Wednesday), and he'll be out there in the groups. I'll help him any way I can, (because) he's a great kid. The only thing Ray Shipman wants is more playing time. He wants a bigger role. It's hard to get upset with somebody like that. If Ray wanted to come back I would definitely welcome him back."


There are no indications that Shipman is considering changing his plans or might have a change of heart. But it's obvious that Donovan would love to see him on the 2010-11 Gator basketball team, and it just might happen.

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