I'll be honest with you; I have seen all but four of these guys play. Therefore, I went to the best source I know, Dave Telep of scout.com for an assessment of each of these guys. Telep is the national scouting director for scout.com and considered among the very best in the business. Before we get to the comments of Dave, here's a rundown of next year's freshman class at UF:
- Marreese Speights 6' 9" Center/Forward St Pete Fla./Hargrave Military
- Jonathan Mitchell 6' 7" Small Forward Mt. Vernon, New York
- Doneal Mack 6' 5" Guard Statesville, North Carolina
- Brandon Powell 6' 4" Guard Memphis, Tennessee
LV: Dave, let's start with the big guy in this class, Marisse Speights (pronounced SPATES) from St Pete who is now up at Hargrave Military
DT: The thing about Marreese, Larry is he continues to make strides with his game. He's a legit 6' 9", maybe 6' 10" and 250 pounds and he's gaining confidence on a game-by-game basis. He has a legitimate low post game. He can play back to the basket. He's becoming a better defensive player and he's just a guy whose been coming on strong. I think Marreese Speights is going to be ready to play as a freshman at Florida.
LV: Looking at him when he was in Gainesville, this kid is full-grown.
DT: I'm not sure how much larger a human being he's going to get. Surely he'll get better defined and trimmed up; but he's a big kid who knows how to put the ball in the hole with his back to the basket. He's much more advanced than Chris Richard ever was. He's not as good a rebounder or defensive player as Al Horford is, but he's a better offensive player.
LV: One thing you wrote several months ago was that Marreese has to become a more consistent competitor day in and day out, are you seeing any signs of that this year?
DT: Yeah that's been one of the real positives. I watched Hargrave scrimmage, practice and play in a game. Keep in mind Hargrave has two other big guys who are major division one prospects -- Vernon Macklin, who is a top-15 recruit and Jonathan Mandledove who is going to Connecticut -- so there's actually a little tussle for playing time. That's been a big benefit to him and I've seen Marreese win his share of battles and sometimes outplay those guys. That's why I think the confidence is growing for him on a daily basis.
LV: Let's move on to the first guy to sign on, that's Brandon Powell who may have hurt his ranking and number of suitors with an early decision, what kind of game does he bring.
DT: Brandon is averaging about 21 points a game for Memphis-Mitchell right now and he's a scorer. He's a guy that will wind up playing the two-guard and he's just wired up to be a scorer. He's been a complementary player his entire career to Thaddeus Young and I think that will help his transition to the college game. He is in the position of not having been the best player on his high school team while most high school players at this level were the best.
LV: What are his strengths as a player?
DT: He knows how to find the bottom of the bucket. He can shoot the ball, he'll be a threat from the perimeter, and he's a decent athlete who figures to factor into the rotation early in his career.
Tomorrow Dave Telep gives a scouting report on the other two Florida Basketball signees for 2006-07.
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