Florida coach Billy Donovan preparing for life after Nick Calathes
It has been less than a week since former Florida guard Nick Calathes officially decided not to return to play his junior year for the Gators next season, but Florida coach Billy Donovan has been preparing for this moment much longer.
Last week, Calathes agreed to a contract to play professional basketball in Greece. But Donovan said during the SEC spring meetings this week that he never expected Calathes to return once he declared for the NBA Draft.
"I felt he was not going to come back,'' Donovan said. "I didn't think there was any chance he was going to come back. The question has been asked, did that hurt us with him waiting this long to make a final decision? And I said I think a guy always puts his name in the draft to go. The only reason a guy takes his name out of the draft is because he can't go. But the guy that's got his name in the draft, if you say okay you're going to be a first round draft pick, he's going to keep his name in the draft.''
Donovan said Calathes and his father stayed in contact with him throughout the process. He said based on the NBA people he was in contact with, Calathes would have been a first-round pick.
"The indication I was getting was there was enough interest there (from NBA teams)," Donovan said. "He would not have been a top 15 pick. But I think after 18 to the 30th-pick range, he would have gone in the first round."
With Calathes' departure, the Gators are left with one scholarship point guard, Erving Walker, but Donovan said he's still searching for another.
"There's a possibility (that we'll sign one),'' Donovan said. "I can't get into who or what. There's a chance. We're still recruiting."