The Gators, 30-2 on the season, were one of his victims this season when Napier made a four-point play in the final two minutes, then hit the game winner in the famous 65-64 UConn win over Florida on Dec. 2 .
That game was a lifetime ago, but Donovan knew back then how dangerous Napier is, and he knows that if the Huskies are going to have any chance at upsetting Florida that it's going to start with the senior for Roxbury, Mass.
Donovan and UConn head coach Kevin Ollie held a joint press conference in Arlington, Texas on Thursday as the team get ready for Saturday's national semifinal in the Final Four.
Napier was a first team All-American selection this year averaging 18.1 ppg., 5.9 rebounds.
In the NCAA tournament, Napier has raised his game to the stratosphere. In four games, he's averaging 23.3 per game, shooting at 45 percent and 45.2 from 3-point range. Hes also 25-of-27 from the free-throw line.
Here's an anonymous scouting report on Napier from CBS Sports.com from coaches who played against UConn.
“Napier. He gets others involved, so good with ball-screen. He never takes a bad one. He's constantly putting pressure on the defense. His ability to shoot it from anywhere. I think having Kevin Ollie become the head coach and giving him freedom helped. I think Shabazz really bought in. Before, he had a little ‘city game' where he felt he could do what he wanted and didn't want to be coached. Kevin came in and basically told him he could get him to the highest level.”Donovan watched Napier do his thing, with 26 points in that Florida game in December.
“He's as good as any point guard in the country at changing speeds, and controls his speeds better than most guards. He's hard to stay in front of because of that. Because of his ability to change directions and speeds, that's what makes him. Another thing that separates him is his ability to shoot off the bounce. He's as good of a shooter off the dribble as I've seen in college basketball. He doesn't need to be set.”
“You don't see a really good penetrator that can shoot. And he's as hot as anyone from 3-point right now. He can get into the lane. Those guys are hard to find. A guy that is so hard to keep out of the paint but also shoot the 3-ball so well, and it's like the basketball gods don't permit it. You have to pick your poison. No matter what we did, hand in his face, he still makes shots. The best attribute he has is the ability to make good shots in crunch time. It's back-breaking and demoralizing.”
Here's Donovan on Thursday.
"I also think that Kevin (Ollie) really puts (Napier) in some very, very unique situations that he can do the things that he does," Donovan said. "Because he can beat you with drives, he can beat you with shots, he can beat you from behind the line, and he can also beat you passing the ball. I think with the way UConn runs their offense and the situations Kevin's put them in, it makes it even that much more difficult dealing with him. Because you can run and just go trap him, but he's going to go find one of those guys, and you're going to leave someone open for a three. You can try to cover the three and someone's going to be rolling to the basket. "
The Gators have their own top guard in Scottie Wilbekin, who was the SEC Player of the Year, and is a big shot maker just like his UConn counterpart. Wilbekin knows exactly what he's up against.
When asked what's the hardest part about guarding Napier, Wilbekin said this:
"I think that's his ability to pull up from anywhere and the quickness that he pulls up and with the efficiency that he makes difficult shots," Wilbekin said. "That's what makes him so hard to guard. He also has the ability to get in the lane with his quickness and his first step."