Donovan, Gators prepare for the unexpected tonight
When he was heading into his senior year of high school and trying to decide where he wanted to attend college, Florida forward Chandler Parsons considered attending LSU.
The biggest reason? LSU coach John Brady.
So Parsons is among the many, including Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl and Florida coach Billy Donovan, who expressed disappointment over Brady's firing last week - two years after he got the Tigers to the Final Four.
"I love coach Brady,'' Parsons said. "He’s a wild dude, he’s a fun guy, he’s a great recruiuter. He got his team to the Final Four two years ago. They are missing Tasmin Mitchell so they are having a tough year right now, but it’s just unfortunate.''
Parsons said Brady's firing reminded players of just how fragile the coaching profession can be.
"It’s a business,'' he said. "It’s a job and it’s tough. He’s having a down year, but I’m sure he’s not doing anything different, I’m sure he’s not trying to lose or trying to have a rebuilding year.''
Donovan said after Saturday's win over Georgia that he found it hard to believe LSU would fire Brady simply over wins and losses, considering the Tigers have been hit hard by injuries. He said although Brady "rubbed a lot of people the wrong way,'' he always liked him and the two had "a very good relationship.''
Florida will host LSU tonight at 8, and the UF coaching staff has been trying to warn the Gator players not to take the struggling and potentially emotionally battered Tigers lightly.
"I have great respect for John Brady as a coach and the relationship that we developed,'' Donovan said Monday. "I hope he is happy and doing okay. Coach (Butch) Pierre has taken over, and he has been with John for a long period of time. In terms of knowing the system and coaching, he knows what to do. There is no question he will bring a lot of enthusiasm and excitement to their team. Beside the emotional
things that they’re dealing with, I think they are an extremely talented team. . . They’re long. They’re athletic.They’re a hard team to guard. They present a lot of problems in a lot of different areas. I think where they are at right now; their league record is not really any indication of where they are at.''\
Freshman guard Jai Lucas is a friend of LSU's Anthony Randolph. And although he hasn't had a chance to speak with Randolph about the situation, Lucas said the Gators are expecting to face an angry team tonight.
"There's no advantage, if anything you have to be more focused because they're playing pissed off and when somebody's playing pissed off you never know what's going to happen,'' Lucas said. "You have to be on edge the whole time.''