Speights Taking Informed Chance

Marreese Speights has gotten plenty of info, all kinds of indications and undoubtedly several lies from various and sundry people with regards to his NBA draft status. Obviously, he got at least enough encouragement to make his expected to remain in the draft official.

Marreese Speights Gator career ends with little fanfare and now it remains to be seen just how good of a decision he made.

Between now and the draft on June 26 you might hear Speights singing along to the tune "Philadelphia Freedom", or perhaps "The Streets of Philadelphia". No team has shown more interest in the 6-11 center than have the Sixers, for obvious reasons. Philly got just 10.5 points a game from starting center Samuel Dalembert and the next best big man, Jason Smith added just 4.5. It's tough to win in the NBA getting just 15 points or so in the post every night, so adding Speights to back up Dalembert should be an ideal fit.

But what if something happens? Sure, the Sixers have indicated Speights will be their guy, but that assumes certain other guys will be off the board. What if DeAndre Jordan or Darrell Arthur were to slide to the Sixers' spot at No. 16? Would Philly stay with the Gator big man? If not, he could slide for quite a while.

Speights is probably convinced that won't happen, but he should touch base with Anthony Roberson, Matt Walsh and Taurean Green to get some insight on promises made and promises abandoned. The bottom line is that it's in the NBA teams' interests to have as many guys in the draft as possible. The more players, the more choices and options you have, plain and simple.

Impact on the Gators

Obviously the 2008-09 Gators would have been a deeper, more talented team with Speights on hand next season, but that doesn't mean they would have been a better team. Just like three years ago when Walsh and Roberson left early, leaving the Gators with less talent and experience, but perhaps better chemistry. It remains to be seen if the '09 Gators make that same sort of progress.

Speights' departure opens the door for freshmen Kenny Kadji and Eloy Vargas to come in and try to win the center position from day one. Both rookies will run the floor better than Speights and they are both considered to be superior shot blockers. The Gators may also end up being smaller in the post with Alex Tyus and Dan Werner playing the inside positions to start. One place Florida should be better is at the "3" spot where both Chandler Parsons and Allen Chaney could give the Gators a 6-8/6-9 presence at a position that was terribly undersized in '09.

As we told you two months ago when the Gators were two over the scholarship limit for this year, things work themselves out and now the Gators are back at the limit of 13, including transfer Vernon Macklin. With just one senior and two commitments the Gators are one over for 2010… for now, anyway. The Gators are still pursuing a guard for that class as well, but trust me; it will work out, too.

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

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