Big tip of the new, polyester New Era cap to Brendan Flynn, who hips us to some Dicky V. blather that, for the first time in roughly a decade, is kind of surprising. Let this be a lesson to you, Billy Donovan: never say anything, however true, to a bald guy who screams all the time. The story comes from SI.com’s Luke Winn, in his most recent power rankings. Florida, if you were curious, is now ranked tenth in the country after losing three times in four games.
Vitale didn’t realize he was on the air while candidly discussing UF with a few friends at a restaurant, and dropped some NBA Draft analysis that included the following lines:
“I’d take (Al) Horford over [Joakim Noah]. You know who told me that in confidence? Billy Donovan grabbed me all alone and said the pro scouts are making a mistake. He said there’s no way I would take Noah over — he said he would never say that publicly — over Horford.”
Vitale, understandably, was stunned when he found out it had been aired, and called the station back to tell them he was “having a joking conversation,” that Donovan never said such a thing, and it was “a non-story.” Donovan’s response on Monday’s SEC teleconference was, “I’m not going to comment about something I didn’t say.”
The MP3 is here. I wouldn’t call it “a non-story,” exactly, but I probably lack the news judgment of a guy who has spent the last decade either 1) telling emotional stories about Sean Dockery’s kindness to animals or Cherokee Parks’ abiding love for star-shaped tattoos or 2) asking viewers to imagine, say, Javaris Crittenton in dandy diapers. Anyway, these comments should probably help the Gators come together in the regular season finale against Kentucky on Sunday. Either that or continue the brutal tailspin they’re currently in. One way or the other, something’s going to happen. Also see this Florida sports site for Vitale’s apology to Donovan, and a brief transcript that ends with the words, “Hey, Dick.”