Over the next several days, you will likely hear various sports blabbers tell you why Donovan should or should not go to Lexington. Most of the guys will speak very confidently and ear splittingly loud, but as is true of many, they will have no idea what they are talking about. College basketball for most in the national media is a part-time gig and they were awoken out of their post-NFL slumber to have strong opinions, and are attempting to make a story out of the Donovan circus. So do yourself a favor and ignore most of them.
In fact, most of the statistics and analogies currently used to determine if Billy should go are relatively meaningless. For every “he needs to go where he can be a legend”, there is a “his family loves Gainesville.” For every statistic about the low amount of Florida fans at games, there is a counter about how Billy can recruit whoever he needs for the Gators. Simply put, as Jay Bilas said yesterday, “you can make a good case for whatever Billy does.” Most Kentucky fans think he will come, most Florida fans think he will stay. We shall see.
But one thing you should not let any Florida fan convince you is true, is that the Florida and Kentucky jobs are equivalent. Dick “Hoops” Weiss made a good point on the Tony Kornheiser show this morning that as BCS schools now realize they can make some money in college basketball, the list of basketball jobs that are elite is dwindling. Take Arkansas…..ten years ago, a coach at a school like Texas A&M would have jumped to coach the Hogs…..but now he can make just as much money and do just as well in College Station. Thus the Razorbacks must go to Creighton to get a coach.
But Kentucky is different. How do I know? Well think about this. Right now the list of potential coaches for UK includes the Florida coach (potential two-time defending national champ), the Texas coach (Final Four in his background), the Texas A&M coach (hottest name in America), the Marquette coach (Final Four in his background), etc. Now ask yourself who Florida will hire if Donovan leaves. Will it be anyone in that list? Or will the list be Anthony Grant and John Pelphrey? If you are like me and believe that to be true, then you see the difference in jobs. Billy Donovan is the Florida job, not the other way around….and when he decides to leave, Gators fans will see that. If he stays, it is because he built a program and he is comfortable there. But Kentucky is a program no matter who takes the reigns. When Kentucky needs a coach, the top come calling. When Florida needs a coach, they dont. That is why Kentucky is Kentucky and Florida is Billy Donovan.