Notebook: White talks Gators roster, recruits

Florida coach Mike White has tried to meet as many players and support staff members as possible since coming to Gainesville.

The whirlwind five-day period has been focused on starting to build relationships. With players like Chris Chiozza, Dorian Finney-Smith and Alex Murphy standing in the press of the room during his opening press conference, White said his first priority is to get to know the players.

He was only able to watch “four or five” Florida games last season while immersed in the Louisiana Tech program, and White has also spoken with former Florida coach Billy Donovan three times since getting the job in Gainesville. Their conversations were mostly about the team’s returning personnel.

“I know that we've got some talent,” Michael White said. “I know that talking with them one on one over the past few days, I think we've got some really good people. Coach, obviously, confirms that as do our administrators. Any of these guys signed to play here for Billy Donovan at Florida, they're good players obviously. They're good players. We need to figure out how to best help them and continue that development that was taking place until now.”

White, a former point guard at Ole Miss, said he always expects a little more from the position he played. He’ll take over a roster with Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill at the point guard position, both with at least one year of experience at the college level. Donovan also put a lot on his point guards, and it sounds like White will be similar.

“I would say I'm a little harder on point guards than the other four spots on the floor, little bit more demanding,” White said. “I'd like them to take more of a leadership role than anyone else, at least vocally during the game. I also know how crucial it is to have really good point guard play. I've been around really good ones. I've been around really good ones. I've played with some good ones. And over the last, however (long) since I've been in coaching, I think I've been coaching 15 years or so, and I would say just about every year we've had an all league point guard.”

RECRUITS: While White and his staff continue to build relationships throughout the southeast, the first focus is on keeping the four Florida signees. Kevaughn Allen, Noah Dickerson, Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone all signed with Florida but now have to decide if they want to stick with it or look for another school to attend.

White said he has met “a couple” of them in person and will meet with some this week.

“We've had a bunch of positive feedback,” White said. “I don't think we've had any final answers yet. I'm not into begging. I think this place to a certain extent sells itself. I think all four of these guys obviously chose University of Florida for a lot of the right reasons, really all the right reasons. Florida sells itself. This institution sells itself.

“But they wanted to play for Coach Donovan. I understand them having second thoughts. I understand that, I appreciate it, I accept it. And if those guys want to be here, I'd love to have them. If not, we'd love to help them find the right place for them.”

As the staff starts to get into the 2016 recruiting class and ones further down the road, the focus will be on taking care of the state of Florida first. White acknowledged they wouldn’t get everyone from the state of Florida but the staff would “recruit them all.”

They’ll also be looking nationally to attract the best players and people to the program.

“I think at the University of Florida we can recruit nationally,” White said. “I think you can get involved with kids in all 50 states, and I think that in the past that this basketball program has proven that. But I also understand how important it is to recruit our state, especially a state that's as fertile as it is.

ASSISTANTS: White made it official on Monday that Jordan Mincy and Darris Nichols have joined him on staff at Florida after both were on his staff at Louisiana Tech. The third assistant job is still up in the air. Dusty May was an assistant under White at Louisiana Tech, but he is interviewing for the head job there. If he doesn’t get it, White said May has “a place” in Gainesville.


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