The addition of Noah Dickerson (6-8, 240, Atlanta, GA/Montverde, FL Montverde Academy) to the class of 2015 gives Billy Donovan the option to be very selective with recruiting the rest of the way. With a tight scholarship situation, Donovan can afford to basically shut things down while still working on one or two elite players who still list the Gators among their finalists.
The Gators have 13 on scholarship and only one senior – Jon Horford – but it is likely that both Chris Walker and Kasey Hill will declare for the NBA after the upcoming season. With Dickerson joined in the recruiting class by Kevarrius Hayes (6-9, 205, Live Oak, FL Suwannee County) and Kevarrius Hayes (6-3, 190, North Little Rock, AR) that would give the Gators a full roster for the 2015-16 season.
However, it wouldn’t be surprising if Florida lost one or two others. Dorian Finney-Smith, would be a fifth-year player in 2015 and he has a child to support. Finney-Smith’s ability to handle multiple positions at either end of the floor will make him attractive to NBA teams who could cover more than one roster spot with a player of his versatility. Michael Frazier will be a fourth-year senior. He might be the best pure shooter in the country but if he has added the ability to create a midrange game off the bounce, he will be in demand.
If Jaylen Brown (6-7, 215, Marietta, GA Wheeler) tells Donovan he wants to be a Gator, Donovan will figure a way to get him on board. He’s a small forward/big guard with NBA skills. He’s also got offers from Kentucky, Kansas and every other blueblood program. If there is any advantage for the Gators it is that Donovan coached Brown at the FIBA Americas 18-and-under tournament back in June. Brown has hinted strongly that he will wait until the spring to sign so Donovan will have the option of staying in the game.
Dickerson is a pure power player in the low blocks. He can score with either hand and has exceptional footwork that allows him to score inside against taller players. He’s got a nice jumper from the foul line on in and he can hit the shot from the corner. With his shot mechanics, he could easily add 5-6 feet to his range and become an occasional threat from the 3-point line.
Defensively, Dickerson isn’t a volume shot blocker but he is exceptional at playing for position and shutting opponents down without getting into foul trouble. He’s a power rebounder who rarely gets boxed out.
By landing Dickerson the Gators get an inside scorer and power rebounder. Dickerson’s offensive skills are far more advanced than Hayes, so that takes the pressure off Hayes to contribute immediately on the offensive end. Hayes will be able to develop offensively at a slower pace while offering shot blocking abilities and quickness on the defensive end.
REDSHIRT SENIORS (2): Jon Horford (6-10, 250); * Billy Donovan III (6-2, 195) * Non-scholarship letterman
SENIORS (1): * Jacob Kurtz (6-6, 210) * Non-scholarship 3-year letterman
REDSHIRT JUNIORS (3): Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8, 220); Eli Carter (6-2, 200); Alex Murphy (6-9, 220)
JUNIORS (2): Michael Frazier (6-4, 205); * DeVon Walker (6-6, 200); * Will miss the 2014-15 season due to surgery for a torn ACL
SOPHOMORES (2): Kasey Hill (6-1, 185); Chris Walker (6-10, 225)
KeVaughn Allen (6-3, 190, North Little Rock, AR): Played for Team Penny AAU and is ranked #55 nationally by Scout.com. He’s led his high school team to two straight state titles and got Team Penny within 3.8 seconds of the Nike Peach Jam title. Allen is a combo guard presently who could make the transition to the point at the next level. At Peach Jam, Allen hit better than 53% from the field and 47.7% from the 3-point line.
Kevarrius Hayes (6-9, 205, Live Oak, FL Suwannee County): Played for Nike Team Florida on the AAU circuit. He didn’t make much progress offensively on the AAU circuit, but he was a defensive standout who showed the ability to protect the rim and run the floor. He’s added 25 pounds to his frame since he committed to the Gators back in 2013. He could add another 25-30 pounds of muscle without much problem and without slowing him down. He could grown another inch.
Noah Dickerson (6-8, 240, Atlanta, GA/Montverde, FL Montverde Academy): Played for Georgia Stars AAU and is ranked #66 nationally by Scout.com. Dickerson originally committed to Georgetown but withdrew that commitment early summer and chose the Gators over Georgetown, Michigan, Alabama and LSU. He is a power player whose good footwork and coachability make him a perfect fit in Donovan’s system.
Nick Marshall (6-11, 245, Lexington, TN): Played AAU ball for Team Thad. He’s a former AAU teammate of Gator Chris Chiozza. He’s turned into a bruiser in the post. He’s going to make a decision prior to the early signing period so he might be a real long shot to join the class. Mississippi State, Memphis and South Carolina are working him very hard.
Tacko Fall (7-5, 260, Dakar, Senegal/Tavares, FL Liberty Christian): Plays AAU ball for Each 1 Teach 1. You can’t teach tall. He impressed Donovan and the Florida staff at the camp in June. If there is an open scholarship in the spring and he’s available, the Gators might take a flyer on him.
Jaylen Brown (6-7, 215, Marietta, GA Wheeler): Played AAU ball for Atlanta Celtics and is ranked #1 nationally by Scout.com. He is a hybrid wing/high post with quickness and power going to the rim and 3-point ranger on his jumper.
Brandon Ingram (6-8, 190, Kinston, NC): Played AAU ball for Stackhouse Elite and is ranked #25 nationally by Scout.com. Florida is on his list but his AAU coach was Jerry Stackhouse, a UNC legend. Barring some kind of miracle he won’t leave tobacco road.
LeGerald Vick (6-4, 180, Memphis, TN Douglass): Played AAU ball for Team Thad. Played on the same AAU program with Chiozza. He’s a terrific press defender who can guard players 3-5 inches taller. Florida is probably behind Memphis, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State.