Friends become foes (temporarily) tonight
No. 18 Florida will face UCF in the first collegiate event at the $380 million Amway center tonight in a matchup between long-time friends and former colleagues Billy Donovan and Donnie Jones, the former Florida assistant from 1996-2007.
Jones’ team is averaging over 85 points a game and shooting over 55 percent from the field and is off to a 5-0 start.
"He's going to do a great job and has done a great job,’’ Donovan said of Jones. “He's got his team off to a great start. . . I've always said it's hard to go against a guy who has worked with you and done such a great job for us here at Florida. But also think the game is about the kids. Those guys are the ones who will be playing between the lines and making plays.''
Donovan is 5-1 against his former assistants - which include John Pelphrey (South Alabama, Arkansas) and Anthony Grant (Alabama). He said it's difficult competing against close friends, which is a unique situation.
"It's not so much going for blood. I think what happens in a competitive situation, Donnie's competitive, I'm competitive, John, we're all competitive,'' Donovan said. "But there's a fairness inside of competing. Our kids are going to go out there and compete . . . it's not like he and I are at halfcourt in a fist fight beating each other up. Our teams are competing against each other. You hear about siblings being rivalries growing up or brothers or sisters being competitive. I think its' healthy some times It's not a bad thing. You just hate when you walk off the court somebody's got to lose because you know what kind of guy he is and how hard he works.''