November 19, 1999 - by
Men’s Basketball Opens Season Friday Against Florida

Nov. 19, 1999

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Seventh-ranked Florida, hoping to build on last season’s success, begins
its season Friday against a rebuilding Florida State squad.

There aren’t many questions surrounding Billy Donovan’s team, as the Gators
(22-9) are picked by many to challenge for the SEC title. However, the coach
says his team needs to prove itself on the court.

“Obviously, that stuff is flattering,” Donovan said. “Are we talented? I
think so. But this is going to be a season where we have to be extremely
disciplined. We have to understand that it’s the little things over the course
of games. We’ve got to cut down on mistakes with our youth.”

Donovan’s young team, which reached the West Regional semifinals last
season, boasts newcomers that include point guard Brett Nelson and center
Donnell Harvey.

Nelson, a 6-foot-3 McDonald’s All-American, is considered one of the best
prospects to come out of West Virginia since Jerry West, while Harvey averaged
23 points and 14 points as a high school senior last season.

Other top returners are sophomores Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem and Teddy
Dupay, making this year’s version of the Gators a difficult team to contend
with, especially for a Seminoles team that lost nine straight conference games
to end last season.

Coach Steve Robinson returns four starters from last year’s team that went
13-17, and expects to see improvement.

“We could surprise a lot of people,” said Robinson, who is 31-31 after two
seasons at Florida State.

“There was a fine line to where we finished last year and getting to the
postseason. We want to cross that line this year.”

With a talented trio that includes forwards Ron Hale and Damous Anderson and
point guard Delvon Arrington, Florida State has reason to expect improvement.

“We have three guys who can separate us from being an average team,”
Robinson said.

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