Time to See an Old Friend

Wednesday's Florida/Ole Miss game is not just a match up between two teams that few thought would have two losses or less at this stage of the season. The game will also be a reunion for the Gators and former Florida Basketball player David Huertas.

David Huertas played one season in Orange and Blue before transferring to the Oxford, Mississippi campus. After sitting out last season, Huertas is now playing about 24 minutes a game and is fourth on his team with an average of 9.9 points a game.

Huertas served a minimal role on Florida's 2006 NCAA Championship team, playing in 35 games, but averaging just 9.2 minutes a contest. Huertas scored 87 points (2.5/game) and grabbed 51 rebounds (1.5/game) during the season. However his biggest contribution came in his one and only career start. In that game, the 6-5 swing man from Jacksonville played a season high 28 minutes, scored nine points and grabbed four rebounds. That effort helped the Gators to a 69-58 road victory over…. You guessed it, Ole Miss.

After one season as a Gator, Huertas decided another year of watching Corey Brewer do his thing was not what he had in mind, so he asked for and got an unconditional release and chose to transfer to Ole Miss. Monday, Billy Donovan spoke at length about his former player's decision to move on.

"He wanted more playing time, and he wanted more shots," Donovan said. "He wanted to be in a situation where he would shoot the ball more. I respect any kid who's got four years to play and comes to you and says this is what I want. David had a chance to be part of a national championship team and he looked at what was coming back on our team and thought it was a better opportunity for his career."

"I've never been one of those coaches who ever believed in holding a young man back," Donovan continued. "I know there are some coaches in this league that tell a guy you can transfer, but not in the league. I've never been a believer in that. Life's too short and these guys get to play college basketball for such a short period of time I always think you should give them the opportunity to go wherever they want to go."

"You know I've known Andy (Ole Miss Coach Kennedy) for a long time. He was with Cincinnati on the coaching staff when James White transferred to Cincinnati and Andy was great with it. I didn't want him to leave, but I gave it my blessing. I want to help David any way I can. David always worked hard for me and I never had any problems with him when he was here. It was just a situation when he was here and there were obviously some guys ahead of him and he didn't think he wanted to wait. He wanted to go somewhere that he could play and be more of a focal point offensively."

While Huertas is playing a lot of minutes for the Rebels, his shooting has not been spectacular. He is making just 38 percent of his field goal attempts, 31 percent from outside the arc. You kinda get the feeling he'll either have his best game of the season or his worst on Wednesday.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Larry Vettel

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