Donovan Strikes Again

You don't go to nine straight NCAA Basketball Tournaments hoping things will work out. You get there by always having a plan, and always being ready with plan "B" or plan "C" if necessary. The Florida Gators executed plan "B" even before Taurean Green announced he was turning pro. As a result, the best unsigned point guard in the country will be playing in the O'Dome next season.

I wrote in this space last week that it was increasingly likely that Jai Lucas would choose the Gators over Oklahoma State and Kentucky, and this afternoon the son of former Maryland and NBA standout John Lucas made it official; he's a Gator.

The groundwork for Lucas joining the Gators actually began back around Christmas when Donovan quietly began re-recruiting Lucas with the understanding that the effort was based on the presumption that Green would be in the NBA. That's why Lucas waited all this time to choose a school. Not only was he waiting for Taurean's announcement, but for the final confirmation that Green would be moving on. Once that came last week, Lucas joining the Gators seemed all but certain.

Waiting on Green was not about avoiding competition. Lucas has faced the best competition available his whole life. No, the decision was more dependent on the opportunity to compete for a job. That opportunity is there in Gainesville more so than anywhere else. That and his already established relationship with Donovan and several members of this year's recruiting class made it an easy and smart decision.

Are You Watching Patrick?

All that's left in preparation for the upcoming season is the decision West Virginia prep star Patrick Patterson must make. The 6'9" power forward is trying to choose between Florida, Kentucky and Duke and the Gators just took a giant step forward.

Patterson and Lucas have grown incredibly close over the last several months, and while each was determined to make his own decision they were hoping to end up as teammates. There's only one way that happens now. Patterson, who resembled Al Horford at this stage, will announce his decision in about 48 hours and could give the Gators one of the most balanced, talented and deep recruiting classes ever.

The Gators will field such a young team next year they'll have trouble getting into "R"-rated movies. No matter what Patterson decides, the Gators will have just one junior and four sophomores as "veterans" next season. That group of five will be joined by five (or six) talented freshmen to give O'Dome fans plenty of thrills in the year(s) to come. Today Jai Lucas made certain that young group will have a true point guard with exceptional ball-handling and passing skills to include in the mix.

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