Gators look for 1 more big signee

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 5:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at 5:28 p.m.

Over the past four-plus months, the Florida Gators have been crowned national champions in football, football recruiting and basketball. Today, UF has a chance to add yet another national title, this one in basketball recruiting.

If Huntington, W.Va., All-America power forward Patrick Patterson chooses Florida over Duke and Kentucky this afternoon, the Gators will finish with the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said Tuesday.

"It's going to be hard to put any other team ahead of Florida if Patrick Patterson closes out that class," Meyer said. "If they get Patrick Patterson, it will be just an out-of-sight class. He has the physicality and athleticism to play right away and handle the rigors of post play in the SEC.

"This would be a very complete class, not only talented, but one with a very high basketball IQ."

The 6-foot-9 Patterson is scheduled to make his announcement at his high school today at 3:30 p.m. Patterson's decision is coming two days after McDonald's All-America and close friend Jai Lucas signed with the Gators.

"I don't have a prediction, but I think Florida's chances are very good with Patterson," Meyer said. "It's been well-documented that he and Jai are very close, and the two families are very close. Both (Patterson and Lucas) have talked favorably of the two playing together in college. They haven't wanted to be picked as a package deal. They've used language to avoid that.

"I would say Florida has tremendously enhanced its chances (with Patterson) when Lucas decided to go to Florida."

Meyer said even if Patterson doesn't fall Florida's way today, Billy Donovan's 2007 recruiting class still will rank in the top two or three in the nation. (The class was ranked No. 5 before Lucas signed).

UF announced Tuesday that Lucas officially signed a letter of intent to join the Gators in the fall.

"We are really excited to have Jai be a part of our program,” Donovan said in a statement. “With the loss of Taurean Green, there was a strong need for a point guard. Without question, he fits that need and our style of play. He comes from a great family and has played against a high level of competition his entire life.”

Meyer said putting Lucas and fellow All-America guard Nick Calathes in the same backcourt will be something special.

"Watching Nick and Jai play together will be really fun," Meyer said. "Both are such heady players and they can do so much with the ball. That's a coach's dream, to have two players like that with basketball IQs that are basically off the charts. Skill-wise, they really complement one another.

Meyer said the rest of the class — frontcourt players Chandler Parsons, Alex Tyus and Adam Allen — can also play and could have an immediate impact.

"Adam Allen and Chandler Parsons are multi-dimensional wing guys with size," Meyer said. "We really like Chandler. He's got to build his body up, but he's really got some skills. And don't forget Alex Tyus. He gets overlooked, but he is a great energy player who can go get the ball. He's good (shooting) from 15 feet and in, and he can get up and down the floor."

The addition of Patterson today would give the Gators a power forward in the Al Horford mold and elevate Florida's recruiting class to No. 1.

"It's a very good class without him," Meyer said. "It's a very complete class with him."

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