While being a head coach in college basketball is, invariably, about winning at a high level and, hopefully, giving student-athletes the tools to succeed in life, much of the success of certain coaches can be tied to their ability to prepare players for playing in the NBA. As a recruiting tool, it is incredibly useful to point to past successes with players who have reached the ultimate goal of playing professionally, and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman has ranked Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan as the best in the country at this unique trait.
Goodman had this to day about Donovan’s ability to get his players to the next level:
Donovan has churned out plenty of pros lately, and many of them are excelling in the NBA (Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Chandler Parsons, Bradley Beal). There’s a reason he’s as highly sought after in NBA circles as any college coach in the country. “He runs a lot of pro stuff and integrates a lot of wrinkles,” one NBA exec said. “He has an innovative playbook. … He just gets it.”
It is incredibly difficult to argue with the success of Donovan’s players in the NBA, and in the case of a player like Chandler Parsons or even Nick Calathes, they weren’t inherently blessed with top-10 pedigrees after leaving Florida. The 2014 NBA Draft will be a nice barometer for Donovan, as one of his four-year players, Patric Young, will be in the pool, and he is considered to be a fringe first-round pick.
Joining Florida’s head man on the list were Michigan’s John Beilein, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski among others, but Billy Donovan has certainly earned this nod.