When Florida Gator basketball was last atop the college basketball world, coach Billy Donovan accomplished it partially through a stroke of luck. He recruited three guys who would become top-10 NBA draft picks and none of them turned pro after their freshmen season. Then they earned a No. 3 seed as sophomores and won it all after their road to the Title game went through three double-digit seeds and a No. 7. Still, it was a great accomplishment. But there was an abnormal amount of luck involved - and that's what good teams do. The get a break and they exploit it. And then all three of those top-10 picks decided to return, again, and in 2007 they were clearly the best team in the nation. Only then did players start turning pro, including Al Horford (the No. 3 pick), Corey Brewer (No. 7), and Joakim Noah (No. 9).
Now, once again, coach Donovan is assembling that same caliber of talent. The current Florida roster has a remarkable 10 consensus top-100 recruits, a claim that can only be matched by UCLA. And next year's class already includes two top-10 talents in Kasey Hill and Chris Walker.
But will they stick around long enough to win Titles like their more famous UF predecessors? Or will they play one and go to the NBA like Brad Beal?
Gator fans couldn't have been happy to read Chris Walker's quotes in today's Gainesville Sun.
On leaving early:
“Coach (Donovan) said where my skill level is, if that's what I want I should go for it,” Walker said.
On his skills:
“I can shoot 3s now,” Walker explained. “I can finesse you. I can dunk on you. I can guard anything, and I'm rebounding better. When I block shots I catch the ball. I can post you up with my back to the basket and hit you with a post move. Or I can face you up and use my quickness to blow by you.”
On NBA guys
describing his game blowing smoke up his ass:
“NBA draft people have said I'm like a sick mix of Kevin Garnett and Perry Jones III,” Walker said.
Coach Donovan is assembling a deep, versatile roster, and I've already stated several several times that they'll be the preseason No. 1 team for the 2013-14 season. But if they don't win it all that year, will the talent stick around?