Billy Donovan Tabs the Huskies

If anyone has a right to make bold predictions about the upcoming college basketball season, it's Florida coach Billy Donovan. He returns all five starters from a team that won last year's National Championship plus key reserve Chris Richard and adds superstar freshman Jonathan Mitchell, New York State's 2006 Mr. Basketball.

Yet Donovan pointed out in a recent interview on WVOX radio in Westchester that North Carolina has to be pointed out as a favorite along with UConn. Yes, UConn.

"I think when you at their caliber of program and their terrific recruiting class, you have to put them in the mix," Donovan said.

The Huskies have people talking and why not. They have guards, they have versatility, and they have nastiness (see Jeff Adrien).

But this group is still mostly composed of first year players who need to get a feel for the college game before they handle massive expectations.

Still, it will be interesting to see how this team is able evolve.

OTHER BIG EAST TIDBITS

* While most publications and pundits have tabbed Georgetown as a favorite to win the Big East in 2006-07, people close to the program are very concerned about their guard play.

The Hoyas lost Darryl Owens and Ashanti Cook to graduation and have reservations about handing the keys to the car to Jonathan Wallace and sophomore Jessie Sapp. "We may not be as good as people think," a source close to the program said.

* Norm Roberts suffered a blow when Rob Thomas was deemed ineligible for the season. Thomas was a skilled forward that would have added offensive punch for the Red Storm, who looks to rebound from last year's 12-15 finish.

Still, Roberts has several key newcomers in the backcourt which should ease the need to rush Darryl Hill back from a knee surgery. Hill hasn't even begun running at the moment and Roberts will need production from Ricky Torres along with newcomer Derwin Kitchen and Avery Patterson.

* Look for Pitt transfer Mike Cook to have a major impact. Cook averaged 15 PPG as a sophomore for East Carolina and knows how to win. Cook was a legend at Friends Central in the greater Philadelphia area in high school, and was a high school teammate of Hakim Warrick.


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