Gator Hoops Future Bright - Part Two

Yesterday we started an assessment of the Gator Basketball recruiting class. While the Gators enter the winter of 2006 undefeated and ranked in the top five, Florida has the potential to be even better in the fall of '06 when these four guys join a team that loses just a single senior (Adrian Moss).

Here's the rest of my conversation with Dave Telep, the national scouting director for As he gives his scouting report on other two players in this season's class and ranks the group overall. Before we get to the comments of Dave, here's a rundown of next year's freshman class at UF:

LV: More recently Florida added Doneal Mack who is a bigger guard in the 6'5" range. What can you tell us about him?

DT: He's just one of those guys who is spindly looking, doesn't look like he's got much game and the next thing you know he's got 30. He can get on a run from the perimeter as well as attacking the basket and I think he's an even better scorer than Powell. Doneal is one of those kids who can make three or four "threes" in a row and give you that momentum-changing boost.

LV: What about either of these guys (Mack, Brandon Powell) defensively?

DT: Like 99 percent of the high school players out there, if they get in trouble at practice at the next level, that's what it will be for.

LV: One of the questions about this Florida team is how they handle the ball and run their offense when Taurean Green is not on the floor. Can either of these guys project to provide depth at the point?

DT: I still think Walter Hodge will have to be that guy. I'm not a huge believer in taking shooting guards and trying to make them combos when it's out of their comfort zone. I'm not sure Brandon Powell or Doneal Mack has the comfort zone to handle the backup point guard role.

LV: The last guy in this class is Jonathan Mitchell from up in New York.

DT: Jonathan Mitchell is a guy who they can run the offense through at the high post. That's where he has been most effective, facing the basket. I think he's going to have to become a more dedicated rebounder but he's a complementary player for the Gators who can move into the rotation, but he won't be a star at Florida. He's a pretty strong kid for his position.

LV: Billy really likes to high/low his big guys, it sounds like Mitchell may be an ideal fit in that regard in tandem with Speights.

DT: I think it's the perfect combination when you look at Speights ability to post up in the low block and Mitchell's strength having the offense run through him because he's a good passer. I think that concept there is exactly how Mitchell and Speights fit together.

LV: As you look around the country, where would this group rank? Is this foursome going to be a highly regarded class?

DT: I think we have it as the number 23 class in the country. It's in the top third of the SEC and is a good group of guys. These are all good pieces to the puzzle. If there's one guy with star power, I'd say its Speights with the other guys being rotation players for Florida.

Dave Telep has nothing but good things to say about Billy Donovan and the state of the Florida program. He's also very impressed with the star of the 2007-08 freshman class, Nick Calathes from Winter Park Lake Howell. But we'll have that some other time.

Of course the key to next year's Gator Basketball team won't be any of these guys. It'll be keeping the current Gators healthy and away from the NBA.

Keep those emails coming!

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Have a great week.

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