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Donovan, UF at point where No. 1 is no big deal

By ANTONYA ENGLISH
Published January 18, 2007


GAINESVILLE - One of Billy Donovan's goals when he arrived in Gainesville 11 years ago was to make the Florida basketball program a winner on a consistent basis.

So when the Gators stepped back into the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll Monday for the second time this season, and it wasn't a banner headline or even the most prominent part of the conversation among reporters with Donovan on Tuesday, he knew: The program is on its way to being what he envisioned.

"I think it says that we're trying to build a program in the right direction," Donovan said. "I remember the first time we had it, three or four years ago, it was a big deal because we had never been ranked No. 1. When it happened, that's all we'd be talking about right now."

The Gators 16-2 hosts Mississippi on Saturday before hitting the SEC road next week against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. The Gators have just one game this week, a break Donovan welcomed.

"There are several things that we can work on; there's not too many times you get to work on yourself for an entire practice," he said. "For the most part, we'll have two days to focus on ourselves. ... But we've got to utilize this time to get better."

Swimming superlatives

Grant Johnson, a junior from Clearwater, finished second in the 500 freestyle (4:32.81) as the No. 9-ranked swimming and diving team (6-1, 2-0 SEC) recorded seven first-place finishes in a meet Saturday. The Gators compete in three SEC dual meets, beginning Friday against defending national champion Auburn.

More BCS

Still can't get enough of watching the Gators' run to the national football title? Sun Sports presents Gator Glory: Celebration in the Desert, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The show will include game-week practices, locker room access before and after the game and exclusive on-field footage that was shot immediately after the 41-14 victory over Ohio State.