More than a decade later, Donovan said he remains “always concerned” about agents contacting his players.
“I think one of the reasons in basketball I’m concerned is we’re not allowed to work with our players,” Donovan said during Tuesday’s AAU Super Showcase at the Disney Sports Complex. “So you see a lot of players going to Las Vegas, going to Chicago, going to IMG (Academy in Bradenton) and when you go to those places, there’s agents there. And they tell you there are going to be agents there.
“And I think any time we’re putting kids in that situation, where they are allowed to be in places where agents are, sometimes things are going to happen.”
The issue of agents and college football took center stage last week when the NCAA launched separate investigations involving players from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida involving players receiving improper benefits from agents. An NCAA investigation remains open at Florida, where former UF center Maurkice Pouncey denied an allegation that he took $100,000 from an agent before the start of the Sugar Bowl.
“The solution for it is the NCAA and the players association are going to have to somehow get on the same level,” Donovan said. “Because we have more rules and restrictions against us as coaches in terms of communication and what we can do than the agents do.”
Donovan is winding down from a whirlwind July recruiting period that’s taken him from North Augusta, S.C., to Las Vegas to Orlando in the span of three weeks. He plans to take some vacation time with his family in August before starting individual drills with his players.
“Obviously, for all of us we’ve got to go out and watch these guys play,” Donovan said. “At this time in July, right now, these guys are tired, obviously traveling all over the country, they are playing a lot of games, every day. And you can see the level of intensity as this period goes start to really, really drift off.
“But once you identify the guys you are recruiting, you obviously spend a lot of time with them, and then also in some of these tournaments you have guys that are only going to be juniors and you have a chance to evaluate some guys that you are probably going to be recruiting down the road.”
The NCAA and the National Association of Basketball Coaches are discussing the possibility of doing away with the July evaluation period so coaches could spend more time in the summer with their families.
“I definitely think some things have to change,” Donovan said. “There’s some good (to the July evaluation period). I think some of the things we’ve even talked about in our league (SEC) meetings is opening up the month of April where you can go into a high school, do a contact, sit down and talk to a kid and then from there have AAU events on the weekends, and then in July, have it where the assistant coaches can go out, but they are the only ones who can go out and the head coaches can stay on campus and work out the guys that are at school for summer school.”
Donovan touched on some other topics Tuesday:
On the makeup of his team going into next season and playing different combinations:
“I’m excited. I haven’t seen the young guys play yet so it’s really hard for my to gauge how they will fit in. But I’m excited about our depth. I think we’ll obviously have size now. I think we add a little depth with Scottie (Wilbekin) in the backcourt. But I’m anxious to work with these guys. Everything that I hear, just being on the road is that they are working hard and getting better in the weight room and conditioning, and they will be excited for the start of the season. So I’m looking forward to this year with them.”
On a proposed rule that would prohibit recruits from making verbal commitments until July 1 before their senior year of high school:
“To me it’s a family issue. I think like anything else if you’ve got a kid in your backyard who is a really, really good player, and you want to make a decision on him, it’s fine. I think sometimes kids can make a decision very, very early and can change their mind, that can happen. I don’t know how much it’s going to affect any of us. Without offering anybody, you are going to be able to explain to the coach how interested you really are.”
On Kenny Kadji leaving UF:
“I think Kenny made a decision that he thought was best for himself and the biggest thing is coming off the back injury, starting over, he just wanted to start somewhere fresh. Looking at our team right now and having a couple of years left to play. I think he thought, ‘I want to go somewhere where I have an opportunity to start over.’ ”
On where Kadji may end up:
“I don’t know, but I told him when he left that if he ever needed me to help him in the process, feel free to give me a call.”