Posted 06/06/2007 at 12:26 PM
So now that the Donovan Debacle is over, let's review the winners and losers...
Billy Donovan: Yes, he takes a public relations hit. Yes, he's personally embarrassed by what he's put so many people through in a tumultuous week. But at the end of the day, he knows in his heart that he's where he wants to be, and now he knows he'll be there for at least five years, maybe more.
The Florida Gators: This time last week, Gator fans were thinking/hoping that Billy D would stick around for another year or two, but even the most optimistic orange-and-blue bleeder didn't see him as a college lifer, a Joe Paterno in the making. I've written as much in recent months. But now, Billy D is banned from the NBA for five years and has already turned down the Kentucky job, so it seems to be a given that he'll be at UF for at least five more years.
Jai Lucas: The son of former NBA player and coach John Lucas, Jai was the last player to sign with the Gators in their five-man class that's ranked No. 1 in the nation by Rivals.com. He was also going to consider a transfer if Donovan left. Now his immediate future is more clear and less stressful.
The Orlando Magic: Even if they get a good coach (is Stan Van Gundy a good one? I can't say that he is or isn't; I just don't know.), it'll be a ho-hum hire compared to Donovan, whose signing led to 200 season ticket sales within hours. This entire ordeal is another black eye on the franchise that's already seen Shaq's exodus, a player revolt at Brian Hill in his first tenure and the ridiculous drafting of Fran Vazquez, who has never showed up in Orlando.
Anthony Grant: The VCU head coach spent Thursday and Friday informing his highly regarded seven-man recruiting class that he was probably leaving for UF. Can his players trust him moving forward? Will VCU's recruiting be hurt in the future? Grant spent 12 years as Donovan's assistant and there's no question that the two are tight. But still, it didn't have to go down like this. Not only was Grant's dream job teased to him, but his current job status took a hit. Deep down, you know Grant is chafed a little bit at the least.
--I'll get into this more with a college football piece on scheduling in the next week or so, but I couldn't help but notice and want to mention how weak Boise State's schedule is. Coming off the thrilling win over Oklahoma, I would've liked to have seen the Broncos face some stiffer non-conference foes. They play at Washington and host Southern Miss, but why schedule Weber St.? Chris Peterson needs to challenge his program more, the way that Pat Hill does it at Fresno. The Bulldogs' out-of-conference opponents this year include games at Texas A&M, at Oregon and vs. Kansas State. Now that's how it should be for a WAC power!
--I like a 3-game parlay today with the Braves, Brewers and Angels all on the run line. Should be a payout in the 13/1 range.
--I want the Hawks to either package their No. 3 and 11 picks for a veteran (Jermain O'Neal or Chauncey Billups?) or at least trade one of the picks for a proven player. Atlanta doesn't need any more rookies and/or projects.
--I really can't see FSU breaking back into the Top 10 this season. I think the 'Noles go 7-5, 8-4 tops. They play at Clemson, at Colorado, vs. Alabama in Jacksonville, at Wake Forest, at Boston College, at Virginia Tech and at Florida. L's are a given in Blacksburg and Gainesville. Clemson, 'Bama and Wake are games that'll be tough to win, while trips to BC and Boulder won't be easy, either. And that's not even mentioning a home game against Miami. We'll see...