Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Days Getting Longer Four States, Five Days to Watch Workouts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Days Getting Longer Four States, Five Days to Watch Workouts

Article excerpt

This is University of Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan's

Week 3 recruiting diary, as told to Times-Union sports writer

Matt Hayes:

This is probably the hardest of the three weeks simply because

all of the tournaments and camps are winding down.

You've got to do your own thing during this period, you have to

zero in on certain players. You make a lot of phone calls and

take some trips to see the handful of guys you're going after

hardest.

I'll be in four states in five days this week watching

workouts. We're also looking at a few juniors at this point,

beginning that process.

There's not much you can do now. All we can do is be seen. But

it is different now. If I go watch a player work out with his

AAU coach, I'm going there to specifically watch him. If he sees

me at an AAU tournament, I'm just another coach.

With all of our recruiting the last couple years, what we want

to do is start a foundation. I don't know if the perception of

Florida basketball was all that bad before we got here. In my

mind, [former UF coach] Lon Kruger did a very good job. Florida

was in the Final Four, it doesn't get much better than that. I

think the perception wasn't bad, but for some reason, it got

down a bit.

We've gone out and worked and developed relationships where a

lot of these coaches at least know us now. You can never take

this state for granted. Even if a coach doesn't have a player

one season, that doesn't mean we're not calling him. [Ribault

High School coach] Bernard Wilkes is a guy we have to have a

good relationship with because of the success of his program,

and it's the same way with [Miami Senior coach] Frank Martin and

[Ocala Vanguard coach] Jim Haley, and a lot of other coaches in

the state. …

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