2013 Basketball Recruiting: Jabari Parker To Duke; Florida Gators Lose Elite Recruit

It appears Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators had too much ground to cover to steal a truly elite recruit from one of the nation’s top programs, Duke. The Blue Devils received the commitment of the No. 2 player in the nation, Simeon’s Jabari Parker. On Thursday, Parker chose Duke over BYU, Michigan State, Stanford, and Florida.

Many followers of the Gators’ basketball recruiting, including myself, saw their hopes leap sky-high while watching Parker’s announcement. This was due to the fact that Parker appeared to be pulling something of blue color out of a backpack as he was making his announcement. You know the rest from there. Crashing all of our hopes and dreams, the young recruit revealed a blue jacket that let the nation know his intent to play for the Duke Blue Devils next year.

Though Chicago’s small forward Parker wasn’t thought to be a likely possibility for Florida very long ago, the Gators pursued him in large strides, finishing with a valiant effort and becoming one of the top teams considered. Unfortunately, that doesn’t add him to next year’s Gators roster, but don’t stop believing that the Gators can’t be great next year. They are still in consideration for top recruit Julius Randle, and already have top-ten recruits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker committed. The future still looks very bright, this year, and next.

2013 Basketball Recruiting: Florida Gators November Recruiting Update

With the football season more than halfway over, election day today, and the Florida Gators’ basketball season three days away, it’s safe to say that this year has been flying by. That being said, it’s always the right time to talk about basketball recruiting. Below is an update on how Florida stands with three elite basketball recruits.

Dakari Johnson

Center, Dakari Johnson: Good news came for Florida when it was learned that former 2014 center Dakari Johnson reclassified to become the No. 1 center in the 2013 class. This comes a pleasant surprise for Florida because, of course, they can never have enough size up front. Even more of a pleasant surprise, Johnson is a teammate of Kasey Hill at the Montverde Academy of Florida. Kasey Hill’s friendship and Johnson’s already-formed relationship with Billy Donovan through the Under-17 Olympic team should factor as advantages for Florida to land the top recruit.

Leaders: Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Syracuse, Georgetown, Ohio State, and Georgia

Prediction: Florida receives Johnson’s commitment thanks in large part to his ties to fellow recruit Kasey Hill and coach Billy Donovan.

Forward, Julius Randle: The player who is regarded as the No. 2 recruit in the 2013 class by Rivals has been one of Billy Donovan’s primary targets in a recruiting year that has already been quite great. Randle is somewhat of an athletic freak, drawing comparisons to a more-skilled Terrence Jones. Florida’s angle on Randle is similar to that of Johnson. Randle was also coached by Donovan on the Under-17 Olympic team, and the two have a very good relationship. On a team that would be already incredibly athletic with Chris Walker, Kasey Hill, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Demontre Harris (assuming Patric Young doesn’t return next season, even though that would be even more great), Randle would take it to a whole new level of athleticism.

Leaders: Kentucky, NC State, Florida, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma

Prediction: In what should be a very close race between Florida, Texas, and Kentucky, I can’t bring myself to bet against Kentucky pursuing a high-profile recruit that is very sought-after, though this one could go in any direction.

Forward: Jabari Parker: The 6’8″ Parker is the No. 1 prospect in all the land, but don’t count on Florida’s chances of landing him because they are slim. Florida was very fortunate to make his top-five, but the chances of Florida edging out Duke or BYU are very unlikely. Though it’s not likely to happen, stranger things have happened and the elite scorer would be an awesome surprise that I’m sure Gators fans would welcome.

Leaders: BYU, Stanford, Duke, Michigan State, and Florida.

Prediction: Duke beats out BYU in a close race. Michigan State is the dark-horse.

Video Time: Here’s a great video of the latter two of three recruits, Randle and Parker, battling against each other. Could they someday be teammates?

2013 Basketball Recruiting: Chris Walker Has Confidence, A Lot Of It; And We Like It

I’ve always found it humorous when people complain about athletes being cocky. To play at a high level, you must have a certain amount of confidence. Whether that’s “cocky” or not doesn’t really bother me. Future Florida Gators basketball player Chris Walker has confidence, a lot of it.

When Walker committed to play for Billy Donovan at Florida, he guaranteed a national championship would be coming to Gainesville. Now, Walker is hinting (and it may not be a hint, it may be an outright declaration) that he will enter the NBA Draft after only one season with the Gators.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to Florida fans. We may hate the one-and-done rule for selfish reasons, but it happens and with a player of Walker’s caliber, it’s sometimes almost a guarantee.

That’s a guarantee Walker can fulfill on his own. The national championship is one he’ll need help with. The Gators are bringing in plenty of talent around Walker, including classmate Kasey Hill, but you don’t win championships with potential. We’ll take Walker’s championship guarantee and enjoy his confidence, even if it will only be for one season.

2013 Basketball Recruiting: Chris Walker Commits To The Florida Gators

The Florida Gators received big news on Sunday morning when 2013 power forward Chris Walker committed. Although not surprising (many believed it was only a matter of time), Walker is widely considered one of the nation’s top upcoming seniors and his commitment is big. Prior to Sunday, the Gators 2013 class was made up of exactly one commit – Kasey Hill.

“In Indianapolis when I saw the way me and (Hill) played, I saw the bigger picture with us possibly competing for a national title.” – Chris Walker, 2013 Power Forward

Walker has developed a chemistry with Hill on their AAU team - Florida Elite - and doesn't want that to end. The pair hope to do big things for the Gators once they arrive.

Before and after Walker pulled the trigger, the highest ranked committed player in the 2013 class belonged to Florida. The Gators now how the only two committed prospects in the top seven - Walker is No. 6 and Hill is No. 7. This gives Florida an edge at the top of the team rankings and also gives Billy Donovan the big man he's been looking for. Walker becomes the first player taller than 6'6" to commit to the Gators since the 2010 class.

No surprise here, but good news all around. Walker is a more than welcome addition and one that will do big things for Florida in the future.

Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Kasey Hill’s 46-Point Game

The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD) features, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. If you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

Kasey Hill impressed us again. The 2013 recruit led the Florida Elite in the Adidas Invitational, and they eventually won the championship. Among other things, Hill’s scoring was as great as ever as he wowed scouts and even Billy Donovan in Indianapolis. Below are portions of Kasey Hill’s 46 point game in the semifinal. Thanks to HomeTeamHoops for the video.

As the No. 7 recruit in the nation, Hill has gotten plenty of attention. Sports Illustrated dubbed him as the best player at the Invitational.

Also on the Elite is Gators target and five-star forward Chris Walker. Gators coaches will hope the AAU bond that Walker and Hill share will help Walker’s chances of landing at Florida.

2013 Basketball Recruiting: Florida Gators Watching Schuyler Rimmer

Billy Donovan, Matt McCall and the Florida Gators are keeping an eye on 2013 power forward Schuyler Rimmer. Although the Gators have yet to offer a scholarship to the Orlando, FL (Boone) forward, one could come in time.

Depending on where you look, Rimmer is anywhere between 6’8″ and 6’10″ and weighs in at about 230 pounds. He’ll look to add strength before heading off to college, without losing speed and the ability to get open away from the rim. The Gators see Rimmer as someone that could fit into Erik Murphy’s role in the future. He’ll need to work on his outside shot, but with time could fill that role well.

Rimmer has talked with McCall many times, but only recently got a chance to have a long conversation with Donovan. He was impressed with Donovan’s honesty and felt comfortable with the head coach’s projection for him. With Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith becoming eligible to play in the 2013-14 season, it’s unlikely Rimmer would see much time as a freshman. That’s alright with the recruit though; he’d like to find a program to grow in.

A three-star prospect, Rimmer will look to improve his stock during the AAU season and then his senior year. He currently holds a number of offers including ones from Miami, Penn State and Tennessee. Rimmer has spoken favorably of the Vols ($), but hasn’t rule anyone out regardless of whether he has received on offer or not. He hopes to get to Gainesville for an unofficial visit sometime this summer.

Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Gators Need A Big Man – Chris Walker?

It’s the summer break. While that doesn’t mean much besides warmer air and more annoying kids outside for all of you year-long workers, summer means more free time for students. We hope that you will be spending more time reading The Bull Gator, as I will be spending more time posting at it. That means it’s time for a new series at TBG. The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD for short) will feature, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. And if you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

Yesterday, a couple of you wondered if the basketball team was going to get any big men to accompany the lone commit, Kasey Hill, or if Florida was going to have to go to an all-guard lineup. Well, wonder no longer. Florida is in contention for, and some believe in the lead for (although that didn’t mean much for Anthony Bennett’s recruitment), Chris Walker, the forward out of Holmes County High School. His recruitment will likely come down to Kansas and the Gators. Hill remains a large factor in Walker’s recruitment, as the two play on the same AAU team.

With his 6’10”, 195 lbs. size, Walker looks to have room to fill out his lean frame. Like Hill, Walker is also a 2013 prospect and is ranked as the No. 6 overall recruit on Rivals and is No. 7 on ESPN. Here are some of Walker’s highlights from his junior season. Thanks again to HomeTeamHoops.

It’s safe to say that we could use this guy. He may not be Nerlens Noel or Anthony Davis, but this guy can block some shots and add an inside presence.

What do you think about Walker? Is Florida desperate for him or would he just be a nice perk? How well would a Hill-Walker tandem work?

Florida Gators Video Of The Day: Kasey Hill Is Going To Be One Heck Of A Point Guard

It’s the summer break. While that doesn’t mean much besides warmer air and more annoying kids outside for all of you year-long workers, summer means more free time for students. We hope that you will be spending more time reading The Bull Gator, as I will be spending more time posting at it. That means it’s time for a new series at TBG. The Gators Video of the Day (GVOD for short) will feature, you guessed it, videos relating to the Florida Gators. They could be Gators athletes or homemade videos made by fans like ourselves. And if you have any suggestions for GVOD, email me at evandagator@gmail.com or TBG at onegameback@gmail.com. We will try our best to live up to the “of the day” part of the title.

I know it’s a little early to be getting hyped up for the 2013-14 basketball season, but we’re going to anyway. If you didn’t already know, back in December, Billy Donovan received a commitment from possibly the top point guard in the 2013 recruiting cycle, Kasey Hill. Hill, who will be entering his senior season at Montverde Academy, is ranked as the No. 6 overall recruit on ESPN and is No. 8 on Rivals.

So why should you get pumped up about Hill? If the national rankings aren’t enough for you folks, here are Hill’s highlights from his junior season, compiled by HomeTeamHoops.

This guy’s going to be something.

Do you buy the hype of Hill? Will he be better than Brad Beal? Any John Wall comparisons?