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Emails I get: Donovan stalling for the NBA

This email comes to us from Jim P. in Tampa. To get your emails published on Gator Clause just send your thoughts or questions to jgoodman@MiamiHerald.com. Make sure to tell us who you are (an Internet handle is fine) and where you're from.

Mr. Goodman,

I wrote to [another writer] of [another paper] and asked him if he thought that Billy Donovan not having yet signed a contract was the reason -- or part of the reason -- that [Patrick] Patterson didn't sign with the Gators. He said emphatically, "No." And that it all had to do with Florida being too far away from his home. In my humble opinion, I disagree. (But all I know is what I read in the papers.) What are your thoughts?

-Jim P. in Tampa



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Thanks for the email. Great question. Like you, I believe there is more to West Virginia prep star Patrick Patterson not signing with Florida than the reason he stated publicly during his signing ceremony. (Patterson said that he wanted to stay close to home.)

I'm not buying it. Florida coach Billy Donovan is known as one of the most honest recruiters around. Patterson asked Donovan if he might leave for the NBA and Donovan probably didn't give Patterson the answer he was looking for -- total assurance that Donovan is planning to stay put in Gainesville. (Never mind the fact that Patterson might jump to the NBA after his freshman year.) This same question surfaced during the recruitments of Adam Allen and Jai Lucas. Donovan told the Allen family that he will likely stay in Gainesville because he wants his son to remain in the same high school for four years and not have to jump around, following his father to the next stop in his coaching career. But Donovan can still coach the Orlando Magic and live in Gainesville. For that matter, he could probably coach the Miami Heat and still live in Gainesville. Just my opinion, but if Donovan was completely sure that he wanted to remain in Gainesville, then his contract extension would have been finalized long ago. I'd put the percentages of Donovan staying vs. Donovan leaving at 70-30 right now. He is more than likely going to stay put, but there probably will be no better time in his career (to get top dollar) than now for him to test the NBA. Like Rick Pitino, Donovan could always come back if things didn't work out. On the other hand, Donovan could sign a seven-year contract extension today, get super rich and then jump to the NBA before his 48th birthday.

(Just a side note, but the Allen family recently told me that if Donovan had left for the NBA or Kentucky, then Adam would "have had to seriously think about his future." Adam's father, Randy Allen, was a star at Florida State for his initial years in Tallahassee but then fell out of favor with the 'Noles new head coach.)

People cash checks when they have them. Some sit around watching the dishes pile up, or let their teeth rot out because their too tired to get out of bed – I mean, people “forget” about all kinds of duties. But no one neglects the check when it comes.

Goody, very perceptive analysis. “Donovan could sign a seven-year contract extension today [and] get super rich. […] If Donovan was completely sure that he wanted to remain in Gainesville, then his contract extension would have been finalized long ago.”

You say there is a 30% chance Donovan leaves. You’re figure has to factor in both the chances of someone giving him an offer and his taking it. I say that must mean there is a 30% chance he gets a lucrative NBA offer, because I’m sure there is a 100% chance that Donovan will take the money.

Will he pass up the money so his kid can stay in the same school? The kid will be the one telling him to take the money. Kids aren’t dumb - let no man despise thy youth. New cars last longer than high school friends. And the ones who would have actually stuck around -- well, they’re just as likely to stick around no matter when moving day comes.

You’re right. He’s waiting for a new deal.

It's not like Donovan is going broke waiting on the NBA. He can afford to "neglect the check." (Nice, by the way.)

"Let no man despise thy youth..." I'm pretty sure this scripture verse tries to teach us to never discount the messages of our children solely on account of their youthfulness. Pretty sure, however, it has nothing to do with financial planning. ("Take the money, dad.")

Answer me this: How could Donovan STILL be "waiting" for a new deal. It doesn't add up. I think he's waiting for (A) the NBA lottery balls to fly tonight (B) see if any teams that might draft say...Greg Oden or Kevin Durant come calling and (C) make his move then. Just me, but I don't think Donovan will jump to the NBA without a net, meaning a dominant big man to build around.

Obviously your readers have never worked for government or the university system. There are so many hoops to jump through to getting a multi billion dollar budget approved (which Dovan's contratct is part of by the way). The media has nothing better to do than speculate and this worthy item sells. In the end if the news is incorrect on their guess then it simply fades away. (they never lose and are always correct in their eyes). My prediction: Donavan stays at UF and I have a better chance at an NBA job than he does this year.

Well done Raybuck, guess you'll be getting an NBA job this year? Fact of the matter is the writing was on the wall when Donovan told Kentucky to look elsewhere - he was going to the Heat or Magic sooner or later, period. As a college coach, turn down Kentucky to stay at Flordia? Get real. Anyone who thinks differently has obviously never been around both the UK and UF programs, towns, fanbases, etc...or Billy D for that matter.

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