In defense of Anthony Grant — Billy Donovan

Alabama’s quick exit from the SEC tournament on Thursday officially opened the door for questions about Anthony Grant’s job security. Florida ousted Alabama, 69-61. That clinches it that Grant will end his sixth season with only one NCAA tournament bid (a first-round loss in 2012).

Grant’s postgame presser drew the obligatory question and he gave an obligatory answer: “I haven’t given it any thought. Our focus is on this year’s team.” This year’s team finished 18-14 and is still a possibility for the NIT.

The coach of the team that eliminated Alabama was passionate in Grant’s defense. That’s no surprise since Grant was once an assistant for Billy Donovan at Florida before he got his head coaching start at VCU.

“There’s no coach I’d rather have my son play for than Anthony Grant,” Donovan said. (His son Billy plays for him at Florida).
Donovan added: “(People ask) Should they have won more? I get it. But you’re not gonna tell me those kids are not better off for having been there for four years. Let me put it this way, Alabama better hope he comes back.”

As a side note to Grant’s predicament, Bruce Pearl coached Auburn to victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night, then upset Texas A&M 66-59 on Thursday. Thus the Tigers were sure to stick around Nashville an extra 24 hours after the Tide has departed.

Sankey is official

The timing was a surprise, but not the news. The SEC on Thursday announced Greg Sankey will be promoted to succeed Mike Slive as commissioner when Slive steps down this summer. Sankey has been on the staff for 13 years. He was previously with the Southland Conference. But his roots are up north. He was born in New York State and educated at SUNY-Courtland, with a grad degree from Syracuse.

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