Billy the Kid Steals Thunder From Players and Camp

By David Scott - May 31, 2007

ORLANDO - With reports swirling that Florida coach Billy Donovan will be leaving Gainesville for Orlando and the NBA, Donovan's NBA-bound players were left answering questions about their ex-coach during the afternoon interview session at the Radisson Resort Parkway convention center.

Meant to give media types access to the projected top players in the June 28 NBA Draft, the session took on a surreal feel as the Orlando Sentinel report filtered through the banquet room where interviews were being conducted with Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer, Al Horford and others.

Towards the end of the session, after being asked about the rumors repeatedly, Noah even tried to help out the Fourth Estate by placing a cell phone call to Donovan's assistant and former Gator, Major Parker. Parker, apparently, had no definitive reply for Noah.

Still, at this point in the afternoon, there has been no confirmation that Donovan has accepted the position which is rumored to have a six million dollar annual salary.

Asked whether he knew of any specifics regarding Donovan, ex-Gator Al Horford said it took him by surprise to hear the report and that he had spoken with Donovan on Wednesday to wish the coach a happy birthday.

"The NBA is a transition for the players and I'm sure it would be for a coach, but I don't know if (the report) is accurate or not," said Horford. "If that's the case, it's a different level and a lot different than college in terms of scouting and different coaching strategies."

* We're on our way back over to the Milk House for the evening session so we'll see if there are further developments regarding Donovan's Florida future.

* Even with no solid confirmation, the names are already being floated as to who would be a good replacement for Donovan in Gainesville. The top three names making the rounds appear to be Marquette's Tom Crean, Villanova's Jay Wright and ex-Donovan assistant, VCU coach Anthony Grant.

Crean is probably the most logical choice, Wright would likely not leave Philly, especially with his returning team and incoming class, and Grant is a hot, up and comer, but doesn't have the name or cache of those other two coaches.

You can be sure a bunch of other prominent names will be thrown into the mix should the Donovan departure come to fruition.

* Greg Oden stole the show at the media session with equal parts comedy and thoughtfulness. The most soft-spoken player made available was Florida State's Al Thornton who readily admits he is going about his individual workouts with a bit of a chip on his shoulder as the "sleeper" pick of the projected Lottery candidates. Joakim Noah, as always, was a quote-a-minute and Spencer Hawes touched on just about everything, especially his Republican leanings and beliefs.

* Stick with us throughout the night as we update the Donovan situation and also provide more coverage of Camp as two more games will be played beginning at 5 p.m.

Posted by David Scott at 04:28 PM on May 31, 2007

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