Donovan a Possible Casualty of SHOEWARS?

  • As most probably know, Nike-Florida’s Billy Donovan was reported recently to be considering leaving D1 for the NBA, a move he had considered making previously after winning his second consecutive ring back in the naught decade.

    Now, @globaljaybird posted that Billy Donovan may be considered for the OKC job.

    This the change and its timing now might make some sense in the grand scheme of SHOEWARS.

    Donovan, a Pitino disciple (note Pitino is now reputedly contracted with adidas, as is his school Uof L), has long appeared a right way guy at Nike-Florida in the SEC.

    IMHO, an early faint indicator of Donvan being a right way guy was him somewhat surprisingly turning down the UK job once, which was his alma mater, given the background issues Billy Gillispie faced at UK, and then given the apparent UK state of mind that lead it to hire Coach John Calipari, as Calipari was leaving Memphis without knowing about all the ringers that played for him for a couple years and that lead to Memphis vacating a season or so in the wake of Cal’s leaving.

    But IMHO a more concrete indicator of right way guy status came when Donovan hired former St. John’s Head Coach Norm Roberts, who was reputedly forced out of his head coaching job at St. John’s by some reputed group of AAU and juco coaches in the triboroughs that had reputedly sharply curtailed his access to recruits, according to reports by a New York City newspaper.

    For a refresher, Roberts was a former KU assistant of Self’s at Illinois, who, after head coaching St. John’s and then assisting Donovan at Florida, next rejoined Self at KU as an assistant–a role he presently admirably fulfills to our great good fortune.

    While Roberts was an assistant of Donovan’s at Nike-Florida, he reputedly began recruiting recent KU star Joel Embiid.

    When Roberts moved from Donovan’s Nike-Florida staff to Self’s adidas-KU staff, adidas-Joel Embiid appeared to follow Roberts to KU.

    The reason for recounting all this old news is to indicate that Coach Donovan appears to be one of the reputed right way guys of college coaching and one who stood up and hired Coach Roberts, at a time when Coach Roberts appeared perhaps something of a hot potato as a recruiter, given his reputed conflicts with certain AAU and juco coaches noted above.

    At least from a fans remote vantage point, it appeared that a Nike-contracted head coach, Billy Donovan, was lending a former head coach a helping hand that had stood up to some of the reputed wrong way types and been forced out, as a result.

    Further, it refreshes that Nike contracted Donovan lost a strong shot at Embiid, who chose adidas-KU over Nike-Florida, perhaps in part because Roberts left for KU. Since Embiid before image seemed on a track for being a potential big time endorser down stream in his NBA career, Nike probably did not celebrate with champagne Embiid’s shift to adidas-KU, or Donovan’s principles, that enabled the situation.

    Consider the above as context for what has seemed to transpire recently.

    Nike-UK, coached by John Calipari, who has only won one ring with several recent apparent talent stacks, has appeared to be the SEC school that gets sharply more draft choice quality players, than Nike-Florida under Donovan, despite Donovan having won two straight rings in the apparent pre-stack era.

    Next, Nike-LSU, coached by a coach with no rings, and just getting started as a D1 major coach, just got stacked with reputedly the best recruiting class in the country, according to some analysts, whereas two-ring Donovan, at Nike-Florida, did not.

    Put more succinctly, two guys with fewer rings and equal or lesser track records, and one with a history of not knowing about infractions occurring on his watch, are getting bigger talent stacks at Nike contracted programs in the SEC than is Donovan at Nike-contracted Florida.

    It might be a little tough to stomach for a great coach like Donovan, who should be in the prime of his D1 coaching career.

    It makes one wonder: might Donovan be some kind of a victim of SHOEWARS aka an apparent competition between PetroShoeCo-agent complexes?

    It will be interesting to see if Donovan changes to adidas, if he moves to the NBA, especially OKC, where Self, contracted with adidas, has long been rumored as a possible prospect for OKC, because of personal relationships with OKC ownership.

    It would be a shame for college basketball to lose a person of apparent right way character of Billy Donovan, but maybe Donovan has grown tired of the asymmetric distributions of draft choice grade talent.

    Whatever, I wish the best for Billy Donovan, who appears to have the kind of character, and competitiveness, and coaching chops to be successful in college or the NBA. Wouldn’t it be great to see him go to the NBA and win two titles and break the record of our own Larry Brown. I can’t think of many non-Jayhawks that I would wish well in pursuit of breaking Larry’s record of being the only coach to win an NCAA and an NBA ring. But Billy Donovan would be quite alright with me.

  • @jaybate-1.0

    Makes me wonder… does Florida have any guys we want to cherry-pick out of their LOIs? BTW: they are on my dumpster diving list.

  • Is everything shoes? Say it ain’t so.

    I’m like a yo-yo on this subject. One day I buy the strong assertions, the next day I don’t.

    I feel like an undecided voter. Mushy. Without conviction.

    Can we bring back Converse?

  • @drgnslayr

    I forgot to award you your PHOF for your dumpster diving post, so here it is!!!


  • @jaybate-1.0

    (sniff sniff) Whats that smell? Oh… it’s me! I should stick to university dumpsters but veered off into an Italian restaurant can. Day-old scampi, anyone?!

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I agree, some days the infrequent, but accruing, news of the day seems to make the hypothesis appear to fit so well that it feels a little like everything is becoming a nail what with having a hammer.

    But I don’t make the news…the news just keeps kind of trickling out and fitting the hypothesis.

    We don’t have a lot of data points yet, because, well, apparently mainstream media types just don’t ask many questions about it. Odd. Heck, I would ask every coach to comment on the record about this issue, after what Coach Rick Pitino said. I would think this would be a hot news item to ask every top agent about, too. Do you have any idea why the big time sports broadcasters and reporters don’t write a lot of stories about the agents and agent runners in college basketball? They seem only to write about such issues when they absolutely have to, like when Pitino lays it out on the table for them, or some recruit candidly says he wants to play for a specific shoe brand program.

    I keep hoping for news that refutes the hypothesis.

    Have you heard of any lately?

  • @drgnslayr


    Day old scampi is better than no scampi, I always say.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Uh, no. Just hoping for it. I’d let you know if I thought you were wrong. You know that by now, don’t you?

  • @HighEliteMajor


    God, I hope you don’t get tired of posting here.

    Tell your wife we are grateful for the time she shares you with us.

    Rock Cheick!

  • Thanks … right back at ya. Rock Cheick, indeed!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Roy was death on Donovan. Back in the 90s they could supposedly not stand each other. This was because of some run ins that Donovan had with Dean Smith if I remember correctly. The picture painted about Donovan at the time had him as a rather slimy character. Sort of like Cal before Cal was a somebody.

    I guess someone’s sainthood depends upon who you talk to.

  • @HighEliteMajor I’m all for bringing back converse. Weapons (Dr.J, Magic, and Bird), not the Chuck Taylor"s.

  • @KansasComet I recall holding apair of Vernon Vanoy’s Chuck Taylors once. Seemed like a giant beside my beanstalks at size 16 quad E. Damn glad I never had to feed a kid like that !!

  • @globaljaybird Wow!

  • @KansasComet

    Hey…the Chuck Taylors were the dream of every kid dreaming of playing basketball for 5 decades and well into the 1970s…

  • @JayHawkFanToo my hs bought me a pair of white hi top converse for bb! I’m special! You knew that though!!! Ha I have 3 pr I wear now!

  • @sfbahawk

    Thanks for sharing this with us about Roy vs. Donovan. I did not know there was this bad blood.

    I wonder if Donovan, who played for Pitino at Providence from 1983-1987, and then assisted Pitino at UK from 89-94, may not have held some animosity about Roy and KU beating Pitino 150 to something in Lawrence.

    The question, of course, is where did the bad blood between Donovan and Roy, and Donovan and Dean track from.

    Might it track back to recruiting.

    Rick Pitino and his former player and assistant Billy Donovan were rebuilding UK from the wreckage of the Eddie Sutton melt down, at about the same time Roy took over KU from Larry Brown.

    They had a lot hotly contested recruiting years to butt heads on recruits.

    And Dean and Roy were probably suspicious of Rick’s ways, because of how Rick’s assistant coaching career started with a bunch of NCAA infractions and being forced out of his job at University of Hawaii by the NCAA sanctions.

    And what if you were Rick and Billy trying to rebuild UK at the time that Dean and Roy and MJ had built this Nike recruiting thing with Nike’s Sonny Vaccaro and his Dapper Dan recruiting juggernaut in which Dean took west of the Mississippi and Roy took east.

    Where did that leave Rick and Billy at UK?

    Some how Rick and Billy were able to recruit against Nike, Sonny, Dean, and Roy and sign the best talent.

    Maybe it all goes back to that time somehow?

  • @globaljaybird I remember sitting about 5 rows back under the south basket at AFH for the 68 regional. Vernon played against Elvin Hayes in the first game which we unfortunately lost. He then had to go against Wes Unseld in the second. He more than held his own against two really good centers who went on to great careers in the league. Vernon then played defensive end for the 68 Orange Bowl team.

  • Banned


    Just curious for your take. As this recruiting season is coming to the finish line. It seems UK hasn’t done as well as some projected and fallen way short of season’s past recruiting classes.

    Is this Nike saying we are done with you Coach Cal?

    You know I’ve become your disciple on the shoe wars. It seems to me that not so much UK but Coach Cal has soured Nike and it’s investments in the UK program. Coach Cal’s lack of respect for not only the opponent, but his attitude of thinking he’s God’s Gift to basketball has to be turning the stomachs of the money makers at Nike. As American consumers hate arrogance. Plus his failure to deliver the coveted championship even though the deck has been clearly stacked in his favor.

    Just curious what you think?

  • @DoubleDD

    At this point, it appears too soon to say. Just have to keep collecting data and considering variables.

  • @JayHawkFanToo You are right and I wore mine with pride everyday as a youngster.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 I don’t remember what kind of shoes we wore in High School, but I know lacing up that dang ball and getting it out of the peach basket was a real pain…

  • @sfbahawk

    Enjoyed your posts. Must have been something to see those guys play back in '68. I’m having a hard time remembering back that far.

    I grew up with Chuck Taylors. I have strange fitting feet and always suffered immensely in those shoes. I became conditioned into thinking that foot pains were just part of the game. Turned out I was right, but the shoes improved just enough to counter some of the increased force I put on them as I became older.

  • @drgnslayr Were your Chuck Taylors better than the Montgomery Ward All Stars? 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 - This could be significant to our country’s national security and general well being.

    What kind of shoes does President Obama wear?

  • @Wigs2

    I don’t remember MWs All Stars. I just remember the Chuck Taylors being a flat piece of rubber between my souls and the pavement.

    Most of my early ball was played on concrete and asphalt, until the local YMCA opened up court time in the summers to help get kids off the streets (and playgrounds). I ended up paying the YMCA back by donating more than a decade of volunteer services before I left abroad.

  • What’s interesting is that many schools, if they were reading our posts, would say what are KU fans doing complaining about recruiting? I mean, every year we get our share of top notch guys. If we pick up another guy in the next few weeks, then we’ll have a top 5 recruiting class and be a bonafide contender for the NC, not just the league. I don’t think anyone’s crying for us!

  • 100 points in one game can’t be wrong.

    @HighEliteMajor wilt-chamberlain-06.jpg

  • Unfortunately, Nike owns Converse of course. Wonder if we could pool our resources and steal it … er, buy it back? Maybe we could tap into @jaybate-1.0’s war chest?

  • Its official, Donovan to the NBA

  • I have started hearing rumblings of KeVaughn Allen being a flight risk. He would make another good addition if he wanted to ride the pine this entire year? Add in Brown or Mack and that’s a pretty solid class. Wishful thinking.

  • @wissoxfan83

    We don’t care if ISU wants to trade places with us.

    Question: would the dump truck stacks–Duke, UK, LSU and UA change places with us? Will MSU change places with us once Ratso gets two straight stacks?

    Will Schlocka Smart want to switch with us after he gets two straight stacks?

  • @nuleafjhawk

    He came to KU.

    He got an Adidas-KU jersey.

    He balls at The House to keep in shape.

    Got to wear adidas!

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