Adios, Knight

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According to Scout.com’s Dave Telep, Florida has taken itself out of the running to recruit star Fort Lauderdale-area 2010 point guard Brandon Knight.

Knight and UF freshman Kenny Boynton were AAU backcourt teammates for Team Breakdown. But apparently, that connection wasn’t enough to convince Knight to come to Gainesville next season. Florida’s two recent national championships and playing under UF coach Billy Donovan weren’t enough to sway Knight as well.

Knight won his second straight Gatorade National High School Player of the Year on Tuesday,  joining a short list of two-time winners that includes only LeBron James and Greg Oden.

Florida dropping out could signal that Kentucky is in the lead for Knight’s services. But Knight, who said he plans to announce his decision on television in April, is still contemplating Syracuse, Connecticut and Kansas as well.

The 6-foot-3 Knight is not as athletic as current Kentucky point guard John Wall, but is a smooth ballhandler and passer and a better 3-point shooter.

With Knight off UF’s list, the Gators will likely turn their attention to 6-foot-1, 210-pound Ray McCallum, a Detroit area standout point guard. But McCallum could end up playing for his father at Detroit Mercy. McCallum, the 15th ranked point guard in the Class of 2010, also is being pursued heavily by Arizona.




22 COMMENTS

  1. What’s up? One minute Florida is no longer interested in the 6’9″ Jr College Power Forward who could add quality bulk up front and now the Gators are not interested in the top remaining backcourt recruit in the US who just happens to be from the state of Florida. This begs the question, especially with Ray Shipman also now transfering, will depth be an issue for next year’s team as well and in what direction are the Gators heading? Up or down? This spring sure sounds a lot like last spring when Billy scrambled to pull in the young man from Isreal who turned out be a diamond in the rough who played and helped out very little!! Only time will tell the answers to these questions but…!!

  2. Honestly, when are you guys going to write the ‘real’ article. What’s going on with the UF Basketball program? When you look back over the past 10 years, there are a tremendous number of University of Florida Basketball players who have transferred to other schools, many becoming standouts for their new schools. Outside of 2006 and 2007, which were wonderful years where we had tremendous depth, we have been dealing with a significant lack of depth every other year. Why can’t Billy D keep these kids around? The style of basketball that Billy brought to UF long ago, which took us to the 2000 Championship Game is long gone because we can’t play up tempo when you only have 7 or 8 scholarship players every year. On top of that, how do you win back-to-back National Championships and immediately become irrelevant again in National Recruiting. We had a chance to ascend to another level, but now we are back to not competing for the top kids. The number of kids turning their back on Florida in recruiting and in the way of transfers is a BIG story and you guys are ignoring it!!

  3. Man this sucks — we are down to 2 warm bodies if Ship transfers at the guard spot!!!!!

    I really dont get this , I know we likely had no shot at Knight but man I hope Billy has an ace up his sleeve with one or two last minute addition guard prospects who can play some D and shoot the 3-ball for next year — theres at least 20min per game avail for next year if we bring in the right JUCO type who is ready to ball

    disappointing that things fell apart w/ Ratliffe not sure why

  4. Wow. It appears that UF is in real trouble at guard. Without a quality point guard (Walker carries a lot of liabilities), there might have been an option to play Boyton at point if Shipman stays which now doesn’t seem likely. Who knows if Tishman stays or is ever SEC quality? I guess we are in for another season of watching Walker “penetrate into trouble” or inexplicably taking a 3 pointer when the inside game is going well. Will Walker be next season’s Dan Werner?

  5. We are writing a story about our University on the word of another guy’s blog. Let’s do some fact checking and find out if we have indeed stopped recruiting a guy that is probably going to KY anyway. Weak effort.

  6. Even if we were to get Knight at the last minute, who knows he might see more minutes at Florida now that Shipman has decided to move on then at Kentucky, where is the depth coming from for next year’s team? Hopefully Billy pulls some surprises out of his hat or the walking wounded plus newbies show up ready to play defense and can hit a three.

    Walker would be better if he averaged somewhere between the minutes of his freshman year and what he averaged this year. His three’s fell often and from far away when he was not over used, which is why depth is important for every team!! The foundation is there just hope Billy can find some quality parts to go with it!!

  7. Again, we’re being haunted by the Dan Werner effect. Due to him getting so many minutes over Shipman, we lose one of the guys who could actually plan man to man defense, and penetrate. I know he needs to work on his ball handling for sure, but he would have been a good asset for us next year.
    Knight going elsewhere hurts bad!!!! Walker is a nice backup shooting guard, with some point play as well, but he is not a starting point guard unless he changes his balance and tactics dramatically before next year.
    Come on Billy, what happened to the coach that had everyone accusing him of cheating b/c he could pull in the highly rated recruits from everywhere??? 🙁

  8. Here’s the inside word from people at Knight’s school: he really wants to go to UF, but dad is pushing him to UK. Billy did everything humanly possible to get him, including building a great relationship with the kid and and his mom, but dad is calling the shots. As for recruiting irrelevance, don’t forget that our class after the ’07 title was ranked number one in the nation. But Calathes left early, Lucas transferred, Adam Allen got hurt. Our depth issues stem from injuries (Kenny Kadji, too) and transfers, so like everyone else, I’m concerned about so many kids leaving the program. I could see Shipman was playing tentative, like he was afraid to shoot, while Boynton was allowed to jack up anything. You can’t play if you think you’re gonna be pulled if you miss a shot. I think Billy may have misused a guy who was a prolific scorer in high school, and it’s a shame because Shipman could’ve been a great ambassador for the program plus his transfer may send a negative message to South Florida recruits. Speaking of local ballers, I hope Billy is recruiting the point guard from Miami Krop High, Angel Rodriguez. He’s the real deal. Senior next year, keep an eye on him.

  9. Am I the only one who thinks losing Shipman is no big deal? If he played better he would have seen the minutes. And while he may have been good in the classroom, his basketball IQ seemed to be lacking. I do hope he finds a place where he can play.
    If UF has stopped recruiting the junior college kid, well they probably know something we don’t. As for Knight, sounds like his daddy thinks he is a “one and done” and frankly we don’t need that.
    Am all for making Chandler Parsons a full time guard and letting Walker sit a little. Macklin, Tyus and Murphy can handle the front end.
    I have been watching the Gators for more than thirty years, and believe me kids, the Donovan years are going to go down as the golden age of Florida basketball.

  10. one year of college and done is unfortunately the future of college basketball and Billy needs to realize that . . . .Kentucky was in the pits and in literally a single year they got it all back with “one and doners”.

  11. When you look back over the past 10 years, there are a tremendous number of University of Florida Basketball players who have transferred to other schools, many becoming standouts for their new schools. Really??? Outside of Huertas (and that would be a liberal application) I can’t think of anyone was has been outstanding at another school. That’s the story I would like to see – the what happened after they left story. Everybody thinks they should be getting more minutes and then when they don’t – are disappointed. The grass is not always greener. We need to find more Lee Humphrey types.

  12. Don’t forget to add Mario Bogans to the transfer list. He moved to Oklahoma State, and became a flat out star, but since that was happening while the Gators were in their national championship runs, it went overlooked. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for Donovan as both a coach and a person, and would send my son to play for him. I wouldn’t trade Coach Donovan for John Calipari on any day, no matter how many titles he wins (which so far is zero). That said, it is curious as to why Billy can’t seem to keep kids in the program. I know kids get restless over playing time, but that happens everywhere. It just seems to be more prevalent at UF. And I’m not referring to those who leave erarly for the pro ranks, just those that bail. Jai Lucas started as a freshman for the Gators, yet transferred to Texas, sat out a year, and was barely in the rotation there this year. I can’t help but wonder what the real reasons are behind those types of moves. It certainly warrants an open discussion.

  13. Hey, Hig BBall IQ,

    UK may have gone from zero to hero with one and done’s, but you can’t build a program that way. Next year what happens at UK? Patterson is leaving, he’s the glue that is holding this team together. Next year, what will they do?

    THe truth is that, no matter how talented, freshmen panic easily if things turn against them. UK might win it all this year, but I see them having early tourney flameouts on a regular basis in the future. It only takes 40 minutes of out-scheming a team to send them packing from the tourney.

  14. I think Irwin makes a good point: how many of the transfers have actually done much once they leave? Boggans was good at Oklahoma State, James White was pretty good at Cincy, Appleby played well for Washington, but most of the guys just disappeared. Orien Greene was probably the best of the lot, the only one who made it to the NBA for a few minutes. When Jai Lucas was playing for us, I thought he must be the most overrated McDonald’s All-American ever. No speed to dribble past anyone. Erving Walker is better than Lucas. I hope Shipman finds a school that suits him. He could make a big contribution to USF, FIU with Isiah Thomas, UCF or even an Ivy League team plus get a great degree. Think Cornell, Ray!

  15. NBCgator brought up two other interesting transfers, James White and Orien Green. White was part of UF’s top rated signing class the year that included David Lee and Kwame Brown, all of whom were All-Americans in high school. Brown opted out for the NBA before enrolling and become the #1 pick, and no one could blame him for that. The fact that he has been a dud in the pros is secondary. White got antsy, transferred to Cincinati, but never came close to being the star he fancied himself to be. And Lee? He played 4 very productive years at UF, and has blossomed into an NBA All-Star. Can’t recall where Greene went, but I do remember that he actually was drafted by the NBA. I know it’s hard to tell kids to be patient, but just these cases illustrate how hard it is to project what 18 and 19 year old kids will end up doing.
    Shipman seems to be real good kid, and we should all wish him well.

  16. For all of you doomsayers out there wondering what has happened to Gator Basketball…I have two words for you…Pre Donovan! Do you guys even remember what is what like before Donovan arrived? Yes we had a few good years under Sloan and Kruger, BUT I remember Sloan being shown the door thanks to that j@ck@ss Vernon Maxwell. I remember Don Devoe taking over and two-thirds of the frontcourt bolting for the door. I remember when making the NCAA Tournament was a HUGE deal. Now it is almost a given! Granted the last three years have been un-characteristic Donovan, but that man can coach, can recruit, and knows how to win…period. Cut the program and Donovan some slack! I would think TWO NCAA Championships would allow the guy some breathing room! We made the tournament this year with a very thin team. Donovan will get us back to the standards that he set!!! We love you Billy D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. We should not have to look back to before Billy got to Florida and think about what the program was like, we should be looking at the best of times and try to keep the program on that level. If we look at the times before Billy got here we will see the state of the program now. This is what the program was like before Billy. So, is he going backward? The program now is in a state that the States BEST recruit don’t want to embarrass the program by tell them they are not a serious contender. We are lacking and we need to face the facts, Is it time for Billy to say goodbye??