Scouting Nick Calathes

6-6, Freshman • Casselberry, Fla. Florida coach Billy Donovan knew Nick Calathes was a good player a few years ago, which was why he offered the Casselberry, Fla., native a scholarship as a 10th-grader. But did he have any idea Calathes would be this good, this soon? That's hard to imagine, considering Calathes has carried the young Gators on his shoulders with relative ease this season.

Calathes, who can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, is pacing Donovan's talented squad. He leads the Gators in scoring (16 points) and (6) assists a game.

"He's just been incredible," Arkansas coach John Pelphrey said. "He's a phenomenal passer. Great size. He has a toughness to him. Game doesn't get too big for him. He makes big shots, big 3s, big free throws. He's impressive."


Opposing coaches have raved about Calathes' passing abilities. He had a career-high 10 assists in Florida's 86-64 win against Vanderbilt. It seems his passing skills have rubbed off on his teammates, too, because Florida leads the SEC with 18.2 assists a game in league play.

But Calathes also is a strong shooter and scorer. He is Florida's top 3-point threat and has made 45.2 percent of his 3-pointers in SEC play. He also does a good job of driving and drawing contact, leading the Gators in free throw attempts.


It's not easy to find much weakness in his game, but Calathes is human. And he is a freshman. So the swingman isn't immune to careless turnovers or bad shooting nights.

He turned the ball over five times in the SEC opener at Alabama. But he also had nine assists. Calathes was just 1-of-9 from the floor with a season-low 4 points in a big, nonconference game against Ohio State in late December.

But he tends to learn from his mistakes quickly. For example, Calathes is averaging just 2 turnovers a game since the 5-turnover outing against the Crimson Tide. Impressive.

How to Play Him

Calathes can be a tough matchup because he can play so many positions. He has the size to create mismatches against most point guards in the SEC and the abilities to beat other small forwards off the dribble.

Arkansas, no doubt, will do its best to use as many different players against Calathes as possible. But the long, lanky Sonny Weems is the best bet to slow Calathes down. That and trying to muster any pressure they can in hopes of frustrating the freshman as he handles the ball in the offense is their best hope.

The Skinny

Donovan has watched freshmen like Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Donnell Harvey, Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh and Teddy Dupay blossom under his tutelage. However, Calathes is on pace to become the most prolific scorer.

For now, he is one of seven freshmen to average 10 or more points a game at Florida under Donovan. But his 16 points a game is the highest. Roberson averaged 12.3 points in 2002-03, while Miller scored 12.2 in 1998-99. So Calathes is standing at the top of an impressive list of former Gators.

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