Following Thad Matta’s recent dismissal from Ohio State, multiple sources list Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan as a coveted potential replacement for Matta at the struggling NCAA powerhouse.
Yet, after consecutive playoff appearances for Donovan, is this narrative simply hearsay, or is there validity behind the speculation?
Ohio State BASKETBALL. Why the heck would Billly leave OKC for that, unless he'd been feeling heat? He isn't KD running from a challenge.— Chris (@THEchrisHOKE) June 6, 2017
This is an intriguing development featuring multi-layered discussion points. The most evident being that with two NCAA Championships won, Donovan ranks among college basketball’s all-time elite coaches, making him a lucrative target for prospective Athletic Directors.
Throughout his 21-year-tenure at Marshall and Florida, Donovan amassed a superlative 502-206 record while leading UF to consecutive National Championships in 06’ & 07’.
Further, as a March Madness institution, “Billy the Kid” enjoyed 14 NCAA tournament appearances, four Final Four stops, and garnered a laudable overall 35-14 record.
Donovan also helped guide standout performers Al Horford, Joakim Noah, and Chandler Parsons —among many others— along their path to professional respectability.
By virtue of these efforts, while still an NBA novice, it is natural for Donovan’s name to surface whenever high-profile NCAA vacancies appear.
Another factor to consider: though Donovan isn’t battling overt scrutiny at the Thunder helm, nonetheless, consistent sounding-board gripes do upbraid integral aspects of his coaching philosophy... i.e. rotation patterns & lineups.
Finally, due to cap-constraints, Donovan’s job of leading Oklahoma City to its third-straight playoff appearance appears challenging ahead of next season.
Considering these factors, the Donovan/Durant parallel becomes feasible.
Similar to Durant’s circumstances with Golden State, if he were to assume the OSU mantle, Billy’s chances of achieving further professional success would presumably increase.
A scenery change would no doubt provide the path of least resistance.
Additionally, OSU’s deep coffers would eliminate any salary concerns for Donovan.
Therefore, unlike the Indiana rumors, which surfaced in March after Tom Crean’s firing, a modicum of temptation must now exist for Billy to at least re-evaluate his prospective coaching options.
That considered, the OSU narrative is likely another item in what will serve as dismissive rumor-mill fodder until Coach Donovan cuts his NBA teeth.
How about a running list of summer league players for the Thunder?— Carl Sinclair (@carlsinclair) June 6, 2017
While it’s a bit too early for official Summer League roster announcements, here is a list of teams which will compete in the upcoming Mountain Dew Orlando Pro Summer League for you to enjoy:
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Charlotte Hornets
- Dallas Mavericks
- Detroit Pistons
- New York Knicks
- Miami Heat
- Indiana Pacers
Round-robin play starts July 1.