One of the major drawbacks of coaches changing schools, and it's something that occurs all of the time, is that a coach has an interests in certain players due to the recruiting process it took to get the kid to their university. Everytime a coach decides to either head to what is considered a better job in college or the pros, we begin to question the entire state of college recruiting -- if these coaches are luring these players with the knowledge that they will be their the entire four years of eligibility, then all of a sudden leave, the particular all of a sudden "deserts" his players and is considered a "liar" by some.
But it has to be done sometimes. If a major college program all of a sudden contacted John Pelphrey at South Alabama to coach -- with the right incentives -- he would be foolish not to leave. His players at SA would all of a sudden be without the coach that recruited them in the first place to come play basketball.
And, of course, the flip-side occurs every now and then. Coaches are fired, and the players who are devoted to this certain person feel betrayed by the administration that went through with the process. It's an unfortunate part of college athletics, but at the same time it's very realistic and tough to argue against.
Obviously Billy Donovan has some huge choices to make over the next week or so -- choices that do not include anything on the basketball court in Atlanta. He has the option of taking a job at the University of Kentucky, leaving behind the University of Florida program that brought him his current coaching prestige, and has given him a stage to show off his coaching and recruiting skills in the process. But most of all, he would end up leaving behind a group of players he brought to Gainesville and coached throughout this season and seasons past.
The players may feel betrayed. Some fans may feel betrayed. But once again, can we blame him for this? My answer on this is no. Billy Donovan would be doing nothing extraordinarily awful if he were to pack his bags and head to Lexington; Coaches do it all the time, and will continually do it as long as college athletics is a big revenue-generating endeavor.
Donovan must be very careful with his current interests until these decisions are made, though. He is currently recruiting players to play at Florida -- players that may be more dedicated to Donovan as a coach than the Gators' basketball program. With that he must not leave these young men with little options outside of Florida basketball, forcing them to make poor thought-out decisions regarding their college careers.
With that, Coach Donovan has made it known to recruit Adam Allen, a Gator commit from Milton, Florida, that he is looking forward to coaching the 6-5 G/F in Gainesville:
Allen received a text message Tuesday from Donovan, who addressed the circulating rumors.
"It said he knows there are a lot of rumors going around but that he's just glad to have me, and he's looking forward to coaching me at Florida," Allen said.
This is good news for Allen, who is really set on playing for a Donovan-coached Gators squad next season:
On the other hand, though, you have Nick Calathes -- a 6-4 G -- who says he is devoted to the University of Florida no matter what happens with the Donovan coaching situation.
As you can see, the status of the Billy Donovan situation has a lot to do with future success for the Gators' basketball program -- and that's not even including what could happen with Patrick Patterson, one of the nation's top recruits who has showed interest in playing for Donovan at Florida and was said to be leaving Kentucky off the list now that Tubby Smith has departed.
We'll see how the next week or so is handled off the basketball court. There is a lot riding on where Billy Donovan will be coaching next season, and all we can hope for is some good news in Gainesville -- for both fans and guys like Allen, Calathes and even Patterson (if he really does want to play for the Gators, which there hasn't been any word on lately).
By the way, I think the Gators play UCLA this weekend? That's the blue and gold team that's coached by that old dude, right?
Ugh. Terrible thing to say by Walter Hodge. Not exactly the smartest move by a backup point guard. Maybe they don't teach college basketball history in Puerto Rico? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.