Terry Norvelle's Random Basketball Thoughts

Depending on one's perspective Monday April 7th, 2014 was either the end of the 2013-14 college basketball season, with Connecticut cutting down the nets, or the beginning of the 2014-15 season. To me it signified the start of the new season. And so far it has been a nearly perfect start for the Florida basketball team. Actually it is hard to find anything that has not gone good for the Gators.

Let's start with Chris Walker announcing he is returning for his sophomore season. Regardless of the color of anyone's fan glasses it would be hard to find anyone that thinks Walker is not poised for a huge season. But the way it played out is perfect for the Gators. UF will get a full season from the big man in the middle, which is what most everyone expected when he signed, but there is a huge bonus that comes with CWalk next year. He got a half season of college basketball experience under his belt. And UF still made it to the Final Four! Who wouldn't have taken that if offered back in November?

So far Kentucky has lost two of their talented starters, Julius Randle and James Young, to the NBA. In the next several days the Cats may lose more depending on the decisions of the Harrison twins.

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Other contenders have also been hit hard with players leaving for the NBA including; Kansas (Embiid, Wiggins), Arizona (Gordon, Johnson), Syracuse (Ennis, Grant), Duke (Parker, Hood), Michigan (Stauskus, Robinson III, and possibly McGary), UCLA (maybe the toughest matchup in college basketball in Ryan Anderson and crazy athletic Zach Levine).

Another potential off-season win for the Gators would be the transfer of Jon Horford. That would bring extra depth and seasoning as Horford has played in a couple of Final Fours and also a championship game.

Though not the sole beneficiary, Florida should benefit from the coaching changes that should disrupt both programs at Missouri and Tennessee for at least a couple of years. In the long run the Vols and Tigers have better current head coaches now than they had a month ago but it should take some time to reap those benefits. And I guarantee that Billy Donovan is not the only SEC coach that was happy to see the two guard matchup nightmares, Clarkson and Brown, leave early for the NBA.

So there you have some of the reasons this off-season so far has been very good to the Florida basketball program.

Now if only the SEC would re-work the conference schedule and all of a sudden UF plays Kentucky the 1st and 10th game. LOL. (Tongue placed firmly in cheek. I understand the tv draw of the conferences biggest national rivalry. And when has the SEC home office EVER done Florida any scheduling favors in any sport?)

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