John Calipari reportedly drove Billy Donovan to NBA
The recent dominance and run of success for John Calipari at Kentucky helped push Billy Donovan to the NBA, according to a report.
Donovan, 49, coached at Florida from 1996 through 2015 before accepting the head coaching job with the Oklahoma City Thunder this week. Though Donovan won two national championships at Florida (2006 and 2007) and reached four Final Fours — including one in 2014 — he has expressed interest in the NBA in the past and even accepted the Orlando Magic job before deciding to return to the Gators in 2007. This time around he decided to leave for good, and that might be because of the difficulty competing with Kentucky.
Billy Donovan told a friend he consulted with this week that a losing SEC recruiting struggle with Kentucky was wearing on him
— Ian O'Connor (@Ian_OConnor) April 30, 2015
This was not too hard to figure out. Calipari came to Kentucky for the 2009-2010 season and has had four dominant seasons during his time there. He has won one national championship, reached four Final Fours, and generally has been the top team in the SEC. With Ben Howland, Bruce Pearl and Avery Johnson joining the conference and Calipari running things, now was a good time for Donovan to get out.
Things will be tough in the ever-competitive Western Conference, but at least Donovan will have Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on his side. That’s a darn good starting point.