``I think everybody was about to jump on him," Lake Howell (Fla.) coach Reggie Kohn said. "But with Florida, the fit couldn't have gotten any better." ``I know all the coaches," Calathes said. "I've known them for five years."
All you need to do it watch Calathes for a couple of possessions to see why Donovan and the Florida Gators wasted little time extended a scholarship offer to the Lake Howell (Fla.) High rising junior.
The 6-foot-5, 170-pound Calathes, the younger brother of St. Joseph's 6-10 freshman point guard Pat Calathes, makes his teammates better. He's not a point guard, but he still dished out 10 assists in one half this past weekend in Dallas.
That's right. Ten assists in one half.
Even more impressive was that his Team Florida 16's were playing up the entire tournament in the 17-year-old division.
His court intelligence and feel for the game is the first thing that jumps out about Calathes' game, but he can also get to the basket and shoot it from the perimeter. Plus, like his brother did during high school, he projects to have a big growth spurt and shoot up to about 6-8 or so.
``He's special – both on and off the court," Kohn added. "He's so tough and has so much passion to play every day and not lose. He may not be a great shooter just yet, but he's a great scorer – and he'll become a great shooter."
``Nick really sees the court and can set people up," he continued. "He really makes guys better."
He still needs to become a better defender and add bulk to his already slender frame.
Calathes, 16, has tasted postseason defeat the last two seasons to Alonzo Gee and Dwyer High. First it was as a freshman while teaming with his brother in a title-game loss and this past season Lake Howell was knocked off in the semis by Gee & Dwyer. He averaged 21 points per game as a sophomore in earning first team all-state honors, a rarity among sophomores in the Sunshine State.
As for the offer from Donovan, he won't lie. It took him by surprise.
``I was on an unofficial visit last Tuesday," Calathes said. "It was really exciting. I've been going to their camp since I was 11. It's a nice school. The offer really shocked me. He (Donovan) told me right when I got there that the offer was on the table. It's a big honor."
Florida wasn't the only school to show significant interest thus far. Florida State and Miami had also offered while Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Kansas and Kentucky had also expressed interest of late.