Recently, Gator legend Billy Donovan addressed coaches from all around the USA at the 2023 Larry Shyatt Clinic. Donovan made some particularly interesting comments about the state of the NBA that really show how the game of basketball has changed over the years.
Today, in the modern state of college sports, it is easy to get carried away in activities outside of basketball. The NIL hype leads into temptations that players have never been confronted with before. Players like Memphis recruit Mikey Williams and Grizzlies standout Ja Morant manifest prime examples of the new generation’s challenges.
What now comes with having the physical gifts that can carry an athlete to the best basketball league in the world, comes with the attention of more people than a stadium can carry. Billy Donovan addressed coaches at the Larry Shyatt Clinic. How does a team get away from the modern moral pitfalls that so many fall victim to?
Donovan answered this question. The answer: drop your ego.
“Our guys know him as an NBA coach,” current Gators men’s basketball head coach Todd Golden said. “He can speak to what they want in the future, but also speak to how his group was able to be successful and what got them to where our guys are trying to go.”
Donovan used the bulk of his time at the summit discussing what players that make it to the NBA. As Donovan made sure to note, the majority of NBA players are those who fill role player positions for their team. Donovan reminded the ’23-24 Gators in attendance that none of the three top-10 Gator picks in the 2007 NBA Draft led the team in scoring or minutes played. Clearly, successful players take the team’s future over their own stat lines. This unselfishness is what NBA scouts truly look for.
After, players gave feedback to reporters on the lessons they took from the speech.
“He wanted to let us know that what it takes to get to the next level is not what we think,” Florida junior guard Will Richard said. “It’s a lot of sacrifice that goes on, accepting your role. Good teams have talent, but it takes more than talent to win. You have to have good chemistry and be connected. It’s going to take us coming together and becoming one to be successful.”
Donovan joined SportScene with Steve Russell to further discuss the topic.