Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Donovan Takes UF Back to Basics; Gators Coach Says Complacency Is the Biggest Problem

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Donovan Takes UF Back to Basics; Gators Coach Says Complacency Is the Biggest Problem

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

GAINESVILLE - No NCAA Tournament?

No locker room access. No workouts in the practice facility. No Gator garb.

No doubt things have changed around the Florida basketball program.

Because they didn't achieve the first, Florida's players have been going without the next three things as they prepare for Wednesday's first-round NIT game against San Diego State. Coach Billy Donovan took those away because he felt his players had become inadvertently complacent.

"In some respects the confetti is still falling down around them," Donovan said Monday. "When you have great success like we've had it's very easy to become complacent.

"It's not these guys' fault. They walked into this. ... These guys came here and went right to the penthouse. When you're on the outside looking in and you walk into something like that, a lot of times you don't know, you just think, 'I'm here.'"

Not right now they're not.

Following last Thursday's embarrassing first-round SEC Tournament loss to Alabama - which effectively knocked the Gators out of NCAA Tournament contention - Donovan barred them from practicing in the $11.8 million practice facility.

They can't use the locker room to dress, and they aren't allowed to wear any UF attire when they do practice - which has been at Florida Gym and the old practice court at the O'Connell Center.

It was a copycat of what football coach Urban Meyer did in summer 2005. Meyer banned the players from the locker room and from wearing UF attire and took away the Gator head statue that the players touch on their way to the field. Meyer said he did it because his players had not yet earned the right to call themselves Gators.

Meyer's players responded with a 9-3 season, the most victories since Steve Spurrier's final team went 10-2 in 2001. The Gators beat Iowa in the Outback Bowl, the program's first bowl victory since the Gators routed Maryland in the Orange Bowl in '01.

Freshman swingman Nick Calathes said his coach was right about a sense of entitlement invading the program, but predicted that Gators would respond. …

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