Versatile Larson Will Play Early

The Florida Gators basketball team is in need of some quality help immediately for the 2010-2011 season and adding a versatile frontcourt player like Cody Larson is a huge step in getting a team ready that can do the things Billy Donovan and company want to do. At 6-9 and 225 pounds, Larson has the size to bang inside for the ball, he also has the quicks to play on the outside and press.

Cody Larson was previously committed to Iowa before a coaching changed pushed him to opt out of his letter of intent with the school. Having previously been offered by Florida and visited for camp, Larson was familiar with the Gator program and head coach Billy Donovan. When it came time to make a change the decision was easy.

"They just offered the best opportunity for me," Larson said of the Gators. "Getting to know Coach Donovan, we just connected real well. I know he will make me the best player I can be and hopefully we can win a national championship."

Living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Larson had an existing relationship with Gator great and NBA star Mike Miller. That is something the Gators really had going for them in Larson's recruitment, but certainly wasn't the only thing that made him choose Florida.

"He lives in Sioux Falls and we have been getting together every once in a while," Larson said of Miller. "He kind of paved the way for me and created that connection to Florida from South Dakota. It has been a lot easier to choose Florida because he has been there and so successful as I can look back on him being from South Dakota and being so successful."

With all the similarities, Larson really doesn't feel he is the same type of player as Miller.

"Not really...he is more of strictly a shooter," Larson said of Miller even though Larson has range all the way out to the 3-point line. "I can shoot, but it isn't really where our games relate."

Miller is a small forward that is big enough to get mismatches inside on guys, but uses his finesse to make plays. Larson is bigger, and stronger and uses his finesse to create mismatches on guys that may be slower or shorter than him. For a big man, Larson is very adept at passing the ball to his teammates.

"I am pretty versatile and can play inside and outside...a lot of pick and pop and I am aggressive at the rim," he said. "I was the leading assist man on the team for the last three years. It is a lot easier when you draw a lot of double teams and a lot of attention. I take pride in my passing and try to involve my teammates. It is just heads up play and me being able to see the floor. Especially in South Dakota basketball it is easier to pass through double teams when I am 2-3 inches taller than everyone."

In fact, the Florida staff has shown Larson the similarities he has with other Gator Greats.

"They like the fact I can draw mismatches through pick and roll," he said of what the Florid staff told him. "They showed me a lot of footage of David Lee and being able to play the front of the press...just being taller and having some quickness allows me to play off in that zone. It is really good in pick and pop situations. I would consider myself more like David lee than Mike Miller.

"They showed me some footage of Joakim Noah at the front of the press and he said I could play the position because I am long and can move my feet. I will cause disruption and help a lot."

A high basketball I.Q. to go with size and athleticism is something Florida can certainly use next season. Still, the modest Larson isn't too presumptuous with what he expects from his rookie season.

"I am going in there with no expectations as far as playing time," Larson said. "That will come through my dedication and my hard work. My goal is to get better every day and find my rhythm and where I fit in."

That sounds like the attitude of the great ones from the great teams Florida has had in the last decade...and a great fit for what Billy Donovan likes to do.

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