GAINESVILLE -- UF guard Nick Calathes might be the Gators' best player but he's no leader, according to UF coach Billy Donovan. Not yet anyway.
Donovan, straight talker extraordinaire, said on Wednesday that his basketball team lacks a leader right now. He did say, however, that several players have leadership tendencies.
What exactly does that mean? It means UF's coach isn't too happy at present with guard Nick Calathes. Calathes has been injured for several weeks with a hip flexor. The sophomore suffered the injury two weeks after returning from Greece, where he spent more than a month training with the Greek national basketball team. Calathes tried out for Greece's Olympic team but didn't make it. (Never had a chance is what I heard. Not a knock on Calathes. Greece just had a good point guard.)
ANYWAY, Donovan pointed out on Wednesday during the Gators' preseason media day that Calathes hasn't been available for 12 weeks due to the Greece trip and the hip injury. Donovan went on to say that being unavailable has prevented Calathes from establishing himself as a leader.
"It's very, very difficult to turn into a leader when you're not around all the time," Donovan said.
Ouch. Apparently Donovan doesn't have the same love for the Motherland as Calathes, whose grandfather was Greek. In Calathes' defense, he did train constantly while in Greece. According to Calathes, he practiced three times a day while overseas. Some speculated that Calathes injured his hip while in Greece but the guard said on Wednesday he injured it upon returning to Gainesville.
Basketball practice begins on Friday and Calathes says he expects to participate. Meanwhile, Donovan said that Calathes' injury with limit the player for possibly three more weeks.