Billy Donovan, the coach of the NCAA back to back champion Gators, has announced that he is taking over Brian Hill as head coach of the Orlando Magic.
His contract is $27.5 Million for 5 years. Quite a sum compared to the $1.7M the Gators were paying him annually.
It has been said so many times that College Championships don’t equate well to NBA Championships, primarily because of differing styles of play (amateur vs pro rules) and player mentality (school pride vs money). The Rick Pitino experience alway becomes a reference.
Pitino won the NCAA Championship in 1996 with the University of Kentucky Wild Cats, bannered by Tony Delk, Ron Mercer and Antoine Walker. After reaching and losing in the finals in 1998 he jumped to the NBA to coach the Boston Celtics. He eventually resigned in 2001 then went back to coaching college teams.
When you think about it however, Rick Pitino’s College system just wouldn’t work in the NBA because it called for round the clock full court pressing to generate offense via turnovers. Not something you can ask NBA players to do not to mention that it required young players with a lot of stamina to execute.
Billy Donovan has been known to be a great development coach. That is something that Orlando Magic will be needing as potential stars JJ Reddick and Darko Milicic are needed to blossom even further for the Magic.[source]