Coach Billy Donovan’s oldest son is coming home.
Florida announced Tuesday that his son, also named Billy Donovan, will join the team as a walk-on junior guard after transferring from Division-III Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
Under NCAA transfer rules, Donovan cannot play in 2012-13 but can practice with the Gators. He will be eligible to play during the 2013-14 season.
“I’m looking forward to contributing any way I can,” the younger Donovan said in a UF release. “I’m excited to be a part of this team and to fill any role that helps make us better.”
In two seasons with the Cardinals, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound Donovan started 19 games.
He averaged four points and 1.7 rebounds in 46 contests.
Last year, he showcased his scoring ability beyond the arc, shooting 34 percent on 3-pointers. He played 18.4 minutes per game, averaged 5.9 points and finished third on the team with 49 assists. Donovan scored more than 1,000 career points as a four-year starter and first-team All-Conference performer at St. Francis Catholic High in Gainesville.
Initially, he did not see himself playing for his father or staying close to home for college.
“I kind of wanted to get out of Gainesville a little bit,” Donovan said in November. “Just go to a Catholic school and play basketball. … It really worked out well, and I don’t regret the decision I made at all.”
Said coach Donovan: “He had absolutely zero interest in playing for me — did not want to do that. I’ve never really pushed him toward basketball. Never really pushed him toward Catholic University. He did this all on his own. It’s what he wanted to do.”
Father and son squared off in an exhibition game in the O’Connell Center on Nov. 3.
In the Gators’ 114-57 victory, Donovan scored a team-high 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting in 27 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds and had three assists.
Donovan is Florida’s second walk-on, joining Oviedo native Jacob Kurtz.
He is also the Gators’ third transfer this year. In the spring, Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith transferred to Florida from South Carolina and Virginia Tech, respectively.
Both forwards are ineligible to play for UF this season.
Donovan joins an already loaded Gators backcourt, which features returning guards Kenny Boynton, Scottie Wilbekin, Mike Rosario and Kurtz. Freshmen Braxton Ogbueze, Michael Frazier II and Dillon Graham are also joining the group in 2012.
“It’s going to be great to have Billy here, both for our team and for our family,” coach Donovan said in a release.
“I always want to be supportive and put him in a position to succeed, and I hope this will be a great experience for him.”