Gators lead for Wingate

While the Carolina's battle it out for Major Wingate's services, a new leader has emerged -- Florida.

"UNC's still one of my top choices, but right now Florida's my top school," said the 6-10, 240-pound junior from Wilson High (S.C.). "They were recruiting me before everything happened with USC and kept recruiting me. When USC heard I wasn't going to commit, they stopped calling and writing – and they just started calling again."

Wingate was extremely close to giving South Carolina a verbal pledge a few months ago, but backed off and has decided to take some official visits.

Wingate said that Raymond Felton, his second cousin, is trying to persuade him to come to Chapel Hill. However, the most influential person in Wingate's decision may not even be a family member.

"I want to see what Charlie Villanueva does," Wingate said of his former AAU teammate. "I know he's looking at Chapel Hill and I want to see if they are recruiting him.

"If he goes to Florida or UNC, I'm going to go with him."

The scenario sounds strikingly familiar to the Jason Fraser-Curtis Sumpter situation that developed last year. Villanova ended up luring Sumpter first and then grabbing Fraser.

Villanueva is at Blair Academy in New Jersey and is considered one of the top players in the nation. The 6-8, 215-pound small forward has moved ahead of Wingate in many rating services.

Wingate is averaging 18 points, 15 rebounds and a state-leading 11 assists per game this season. He has put up impressive numbers despite continuing to suffer from an ankle injury that plagued him this past summer.

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