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HOOPS: Donovan Unplugged

GAINESVILLE -- No. 16 Florida (7-2) plays No. 15 Memphis (7-1) at Madison Square Garden in New York City tonight (9 p.m., ESPN) in the nightcap of the Jimmy V Classic.

For UF coach Billy Donovan -- born and raised in Long Island -- it’s another special trip to New York.

Donovan competed at MSG as the point guard for Providence in the Big East tournament during the mid-1980's, and he also played his lone season in the NBA with his beloved hometown Knicks.

Bleacherreport.net(Courtesy bleacherreport.net)

Monday, Donovan dished on his favorite memories inside the historic arena, his brief relationship with Jim Valvano, the famous ESPY speech and more.

On the Jimmy V Foundation…

 “I think in some way or another all of us here have been affected by cancer one way or another.  Whether it’s a family member, a friend, someone close to us has been affected by cancer. I think the fact they have done the V Foundation an enormous job raising money for cancer research. And the money is going to cancer research. I think being involved with Dick Vitale in Sarasota for that event every year to raise money, their main fundraiser in May. I’ve had a chance to go down there several years to be part of that. I knew [Valvano] a little bit. I knew him a little bit, obviously being from New York. He coached at Iona. … It wasn’t like this close relationship, but I obviously knew him. I think right when I got into coaching was right about the time when he started to move into the booth and he was doing ESPN stuff.”

On Valvano’s speech…

“It was very, very powerful and moving. …It’s really, really very motivational. I think a lot of times in a lot of things when you’re at that point in time where you realize that that part of your life is going to be terminal, the cancer part is going to be terminal. I think probably a totally different perspective on what’s really valuable and important in life. I think when he talked about laughing, crying and thinking, those are probably three good things that all of us probably need to do every single day emotionally.”

On special memories inside Madison Square Garden… 

“I was a kid that being in elementary school, high school, would jump on the Long Island Railroad and go into Penn Station and go buy a $5 ticket in the rafters. … It’s definitely special. There’s just something special about it to me. And I think for some of our guys, they really don’t understand that part of it. A guy like Casey Prather has never been to New York. There’s guys on our team that have never been to New York City.”

On dreaming about playing for the Knicks…

 “It was a great story I told somebody. When I was like in fifth or sixth grade, they used to have this sporting goods store. They had these shirts that had a picture of an NBA player. It was a mug shot and like an action shot. And growing up, I loved the Knicks and I loved Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe. I loved those backcourt guys. My mother took me down to get one of these shirts, a big thing back then. And I think I got a picture, the shirt of Walt Frazier. I said to my mother do you still think Walt Frazier will be playing when I make it to the Knicks. You know, so you think about how crazy it is to just say that and actually have the opportunity to do that.”

More on MSG…

“I can remember going into Madison Square Garden for the ECAC Holiday Festival when St. Johns would play. I can still remember to this day vividly going into a doubleheader and watching Mark Aguirre as a sophomore playing for DePaul, and DePaul was ranked No. 1 in the country. I remember watching Louisville in the Garden when they had Darrell Griffith and that team that won the (1980) national championship. I remember watching Wichita State with Antoine Carr and Aubrey Sherrod and those guys. So there were some great things. Basketball back then was really, really good. St. Johns was great at that time. Just seeing the inception of the Big East and the Big East Tournament and all those things. That’s kind of what I grew up around and in the game of basketball. The one mainstay of all that, the Big East, the Knicks and everything was Madison Square Garden. That was the one place I think you always dreamed about playing in.”

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton 


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Only good teams are invited to MSG for the Jimmy V classic. The Gator just took down a very good Memphis team. We are on pace to tear through the SEC and make a big splash in The Dance.
What are the sorry canes doing?
Fresh from losing back to back to Nebraska and V Tech they are getting ready to play............. Savannah State. The new cane rival is Savannah State, they play them in all sports. Running from competition these sorry canes, only play cupcakes. Both in football and basketball the coward canes schedule mainly cupcakes. Play a cupcake schedule and still struggle, bunch of sorry losers.
Hey but he BBT center is going to be sold out this coming Saturday. No, not for the sorry canes. The Gators are in town as art of the OB classic. You won't see crappy teams like the canes playing in the Jimmy V Classic, and you won' see them either in the OB Classic. Only nationally prominent programs, like the Gators, are invited.
Gooooooooooooooo Gators!!!!!!!!!

errrr, the only difference will be that we beat our cupcakes.

Gatr Trash, on the other hand, loses to GA Southern, so, you know, it's not really a fair comparison.

Jesse you're slackin on your pimpin...how about a new blog bro? lol.

Georgia southern...lmao....that ones gonna sting for a few years. Heard they are going after uf recruits now saying just 26-20 as their sales pitch. I wouldnt brag until U can beat div ll schools convincingly . Or AAC teams. Or ACC teams. Lol, the tebow effect still lingers in Canesville. We own U. Optically, and statistically. Jlo knows, he hates us for it.

Foley is scrambling making sure they get rid of Ga Southern in future schedules. Furman and La Mo are also crossed off. Looking the likes of South Dakota State.

Cowardice and failure in the trailerpark. It's all Gatah.

Nahh cane trash, that is the only example in history that you can find of the Gators losing to a cupcake. The only one. In contrast the sorry canes make a living losing to cupcakes every year, like UVA last year and BC and Maryland the year before. As usual you talk a lot but most of what you say is manure.
Like the good book sys, you are what comes out of your mouth, in your case it is crap.


Witty and insulting, just like the fiction of the "good book." Don't forget, you have losing records to the ACC teams you bash. Just, you know, facts suck and all, jlo, but then again, you have to look in the mirror everyday and see that feminine profile.

jls, as much as I wish you could have your blog free and clear, and we could have ours the same, the murder joking name changing fellow that has destroyed Canes blogs for the past five years is back full speed. Apparently, he won't take no for an answer. If you are him, I ask that you stop. If not, I ask that you request him to stop. It will get ugly on both sides if he continues to escalate things there.

Good luck to your team in the future, even if I disagree with your comments about the Canes, you at least defend your blog and your team without stooping to the level of that other guy.

Lol five titles...jlo is the guy U are talking about. He is canetrash and gallo.
Jlo, uva maryland and, bc are at least div ll schools with 20 more scholarships than georgia southern that also lost 19 players to injury. That was a sad effort on your part. All three of those teams can beat ga southeast. How do U explain away the bowling greens and rajun cajuns playing sec football on the road?
Jls14234 take two.

jlo, how does it feel that your team is the 4th best in the state. Don't schedule UCF anymore for a OOC game since they are now better than the gatah. Funny that the gatah gets scraps now from UCF, FSU and Miami.

Posted by: Five Titles

" the murder joking name changing fellow that has destroyed Canes blogs for the past five years is back full speed. "

5 Tiltles I feel bad for you and your fellow true fans if you are subjected to any such things in your blog. I have not visited your blog in a long time. I do not know what you are talking about, I don't know who this guy is and rest assured it is not me. Who ever it is I agree with you this childish behavior is unwanted and pathetic. Whoever this idiot is should stop.
Now we also have a name changing fellow here. He is accusing me of the very thing he does, using " jlo's second thoughts " as one of his many names he says I'm "the guy you are talking about, canetrash and gallo". The name changing and stealing goes on both sites.
If any Gator fan is posting crap on the cane blog, you should stop that nonsense.
I would ask you to do the same. Your buddy sidcane is one of the name changing and name stealing idiots, he has been caught in the act when he started using 21 - 16 as another of his demented personalities. Ask him to stop this nonsense as well.
There are few true cane fans that have posted here without a problem using their real names like sunnydee and richmondvirginiacane. It is no life, low life jerks like sidcane that are the problem.
Hope all trolls go away from both sites and that we can discuss football without all the name calling and stupidity.
I will not answer the troll above that keeps asking me to respond. I will set the record straight and call out these Morons as I see fit, and ignore them most of the time.
I suggest you do the same.
Have a merry Christmas.

I had to refresh your page times to look at this page for reasons unknown, however, the information here has been worth the wait around.”

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