UF readies to drive memory lane

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 18, 2004 at 1:10 a.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Details are still being planned, but Florida confirmed Saturday that it will be holding 10-year reunion ceremonies for its 1993-'94 Final Four team during its Feb. 14 game at the O'Connell Center against LSU.

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Vanderbilt's Matt Freije celebrates on the bench behind coach Kevin Stallings in the last minutes of Commodores' win.


Still to be decided are at what point of the game the players are to be honored and how many players and coaches will be coming back to attend. The date was planned to coincide with the NBA All-Star break in order to make it convenient for forward Andrew DeClrecq (Orlando Magic) and former coach Lon Kruger.

Kruger was an assistant coach with the New York Knicks until he was fired Wednesday with assistant coach Brendan Malone and head coach Don Chaney as part of the retooling of the team that began when Isiah Thomas was hired as director of basketball operations. Lenny Wilkens was hired as the new coach.

Sunshine color basketball analyst Bill Koss, a close friend of Kruger, spoke with him Thursday. "He's doing fine," said Koss, who did not know if Kruger will be able to make it back for the ceremony.

Kruger's son, Kevin, plays basketball at Arizona State. Kruger had originally stated that he planned to spend the All-Star break watching his son's team.

The 1994 team went 29-8 and surged to the Final Four with upset wins over Connecticut and Boston College in the NCAA East Region finals in Miami. The season ended with a 70-65 loss to Duke in the Final Four in Charlotte, N.C.

Former players include DeClrecq, honorable mention All-American guard Dan Cross and guard Craig Brown, who is now an assistant coach at Central Florida.

  • YOUTH SERVED: Florida coach Billy Donovan has been telling people all season that his team was young and needed time to come together.

    Donovan found out how young recently. Of NCAA Division I teams, Florida ranks third in youth behind Villanova and Northwestern State. Of Florida's 11 scholarship players, nine (81.8 percent) are freshmen and sophomores.

    Nine of Villanova's 10 scholarship players are freshmen and sophomores, making the Wildcats the youngest team in Division I.

    Nowhere is Florida's youth more apparent than on its bench. Of the six bench players, four are freshman and two are sophmores, though backup center Adrian Moss, who red-shirted his freshman year, is a third-year sophomore.

    Arkansas, with nine of 12 scholarship players as freshman and sophomores, is the only other Southeastern Conference team ranked in the top 10 at No. 6.

  • BENCH STRENGTH: One reason Vanderbilt (12-2) has already suprassed its win total from a season ago has been the play of its bench.

    Vandy's bench came into Saturday having outscored its opponents by an average of 16.5 points per game. Senior Commodores guard Scott Hundley is averaging 10.2 points per game, the only player other than starting forward Matt Freije averaging double-figures in scoring.

    Backup 7-foot-2 center Dawid Przybyszewski is shooting 41 percent from 3-point range and backup point guard Russell Lakey hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing minutes of Vandy's SEC-opening win against Auburn.

  • HUMPHREY HOMECOMING: Freshman Florida guard Lee Humphrey returned to his home state for the first time in a college uniform.

    Humphrey left about 10-15 tickets for family and friends who made the 3 hour drive from Maryville, Tenn., Humphrey's hometown.

    Humphrey has emerged from near obscurity to Florida's first guard off the bench. He came into Saturday averaging 3.5 points per game and 6-of-10 on 3-pointers this season.

    In summers between high school, Humphrey played on the same travel team with Vanderbilt starters Mario Moore, Jason Holwerda and Julian Terrell.

    Ticket demand should be greater for Florida's game at Tennessee on Jan 31. Maryville is just 20 miles outside Knoxville.

  • RECRUITING UPDATE: Assistant coach Anthony Grant watched incoming recruit Corey Brewer play Friday night at Portland High in Portland, Tenn. Brewer, a 6-foot-7 forward, scored 31 points.

    Portland is about 45 minutes north of Nashville, near the Kentucky border.

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