FanShot

With Marquette bowing out late on Thursday night and Michigan State having done so earlier in the...

11

With Marquette bowing out late on Thursday night and Michigan State having done so earlier in the evening, the West Region is all about Louisville’s Rick Pitino and Florida’s Billy Donovan — if it wasn’t already. The storytelling about the potential mentor/mentee, player/coach matchup in the Elite Eight began on Wednesday, in the first press conferences when the teams arrived in Phoenix. Pitino told the tale of when the two met: Just after he’d taken the Providence job in 1985, Donovan "waddled" into his office, a fat (by basketball standards) guard looking for permission to transfer, hopefully to Northeastern or Fairfield. "He left the meeting," Pitino said, "and I said a Hail Mary and thanked God he was leaving. Because he averaged four minutes a game as a freshman and sophomore." There was a problem: Northeastern and Fairfield didn’t think Donovan was good enough for them, either. Pitino didn’t want to hurt the kid’s feelings, so he made him an offer. If he could lose 30 pounds and get into all-out pressing shape by the fall, he’d have a shot at the back end of Providence’s rotation. Donovan did it, was the Friars’ third guard in 1985-86, then blossomed into an All-America in ’86-87, making what Pitino called the greatest improvement he’d ever seen out of a player in 35 years of coaching. Pitino went to the extent of putting Donovan on the cover of a Providence program in a cowboy hat, spurs and boots, and despite his protests, the Billy The Kid nickname was born. "That," Pitino said, "was the start of his college legend."

SI.com's Luke Winn begins his praise of Bradley Beal with the full story of how Billy Donovan came to be Billy The Kid.
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Join Alligator Army

You must be a member of Alligator Army to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Alligator Army. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker