Gators Strictly Focused On The Present
GAINESVILLE - There's no escaping it.
With a month left in the regular season, talk has turned to two things concerning the Florida men's basketball team: Can the Gators go undefeated in the SEC and whether a return to the Final Four is inevitable, considering how they are playing.
But coach Billy Donovan and the Gators refuse to go there. Donovan is using every way possible to keep the players from looking too far ahead and not getting caught up in the hype that's proclaiming them nearly invincible.
"I talked to the guys about washing your hands in success because I think when you're successful like they have been it softens and weakens you,'' Donovan said after Wednesday night's come-from-behind win over Alabama. "I felt that coming in the last two days _ our team was emotionally drained. Having to get to that level all the time emotionally, knowing you are getting everyone's best shot and playing talented teams becomes emotionally draining. It's easy for team to get up to play us, but our guys have to get to a very, very high level every single time. I don't think the last few games we were getting to that level, we looked tired emotionally. Physically . . .they have taken on every challenge.''
Junior forward Joakim Noah said the players occasionally talk among themselves about what could be, but are determined to keep it in perspective.
"We understand, coach always talks about pressure,'' Noah said. "You don't put pressure on yourself, people around you instill pressure on you. I think right now, we're right where we need to be. We know how good we can be. We don't feel like we're playing our best basketball. We just have to stay humble, stay hungry, stay driven and the sky's the limit.''