HOOPS RECRUITING: Update On Signee Derwin Kitchen

Life is full of lessons learned, especially in the game of basketball. University of Florida signee Derwin Kitchen, ranked the number nine shooting guard in the nation by Scout.com, received a reality check in what would prove to be the final game of his high school career.

Jacksonville Raines' (2-A) attempt to become the first Jacksonville team to win three consecutive state titles fell just short at the buzzer despite the 6-4, 180-pound Kitchen's 25 point effort. The loss wasn't without Kitchen maturing both off and on the court.

"I definitely will start playing every game like it is my last," Kitchen said. "There were times that I would be late to practice or even a game, but that's never going to happen again."

Derwin Kitchen is no stranger to living and dying by last second shots. It was his three-point shot in his sophomore year that won the title for the Vikings.

"We started this by the buzzer and we ended it at the buzzer," he said. "There were a lot of good things in between but it was disappointing for it to end like it did."

The talented guard was in attendance for the Gators victory over Kentucky in the O'Connell Center last week. He came away amazed by the atmosphere, coaches and most importantly, the team.

"The atmosphere was incredible and the team is on a great run," he said. "I liked to see them celebrate like that because that is something I'd like to do in my time there."

With the possible departure of point guard Anthony Roberson to the NBA, a spot could open up for immediate playing time at the position. Kitchen, who is better suited for shooting guard or small forward role, played both positions during his time at Raines.

"I need to continue developing my point guard skills but if Roberson does leave, it would be good for me because I could come in and get a chance to play there," Kitchen said. "I know they already have some guys capable of playing it, but I'd definitely do well in that role."

The point guard role revolves around being a floor general and that is one quality that according to Kitchen isn't lacking in his game. He's already planning to improve every aspect of his game before he sets foot on the Florida campus as a student.

"I love getting the team involved in every way," he said. "I'll be in school in a couple weeks training and conditioning with a coach so I'm looking forward to that."

He will be looking to hone on his versatility during this time, but he said that his game compares favorably to current Orlando Magic All-Star Grant Hill.

"He's got a great all around game, and I think the way I play compares to how he does," Kitchen said.

Between now and when he arrives in Gainesville, the talented guard will be paying close attention to March Madness. There's one team that he hopes goes far in everyone's bracket and that's UF.

"I'm happy that they won against Kentucky for the championship, but hopefully they can do even better come tournament time," Kitchen said.

Fightin Gators Top Stories