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Add another guard to Florida’s growing spring wish list.

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, Florida is among a handful of schools that have  inquired about Auburn Class of 2010 signee Jalen Steele. Steele, a 6-foot-3 180-pound guard from Fulton High in Knoxville, Tenn.,  signed with Auburn last November when Jeff Lebo was still head coach. But Steele is looking to get out of his letter of intent due the coaching change from Lebo to Tony Barbee.

“I think that without a doubt Coach Barbee is going to be successful at Auburn, but I just don’t know that Jalen felt as comfortable with the situation at Auburn as he did,” Steele’s high school coach, Jody Wright, told the News-Sentinel. “He may end back up at Auburn. But, at this point, he wanted to ask for his release to see what else is out there.”

Steele, the Class AA Tennessee player of the year, is considered an excellent perimeter shooter out to 22 to 23-feet. Of course, Florida had great success with another 3-point bomber from the east Tennessee region. Lee Humphrey, from Maryville, Tenn., still holds the NCAA Tournament record for most 3-pointers. Humphrey was an underrated cog in UF’s back-to-back national title runs in 2006 and 2007.

According to Wright, UCLA, Miami, Cincinnati and Alabama also have asked about Steele’s status. Steele’s perimeter shooting would be a welcome addition to a Florida team that finished an uncharacteristic 11th in the Southeastern Conference in 3-point shooting last season. The Gators wound up 2009-2010 shooting 31.3 percent from beyond the arc.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Go get’em, Billy! Adding the Wooden Award to your resume ought to cause some prospective Gator cagers to pause and think about the opportunity to play for a coach with the record of success and recognition that has been accorded you. I think the Wooden Award underscores character, humility and integrity, just the type of coach and man John Wooden always has been. I hope Jalen Steele or Brandon Knight or someone else with outstanding potential comes your way for this 2010-11 Gator team. And thanks for being our coach!

  2. Thanks for the update. Jalen sounds like he would be quality addition to our lineup. But, wait, whats going on with the Lady Gators!!!! With the 3 recent transfers in waiting, what is Coach Butler’s plans and our prospects for next year and beyond???
    Orange and Blue Blood

  3. Allow me to second the comments made by Gatormac. Despite some recent struggles on the court, UF is blessed to have a coach of Billy Donovan’s quality and character. I think Butler demonstarted in the Tourney that you can win with good players who are quality kids, committed to their team, and are ones who make thier university proud. Congratulations Coach!!! Your honor is well deserved.

  4. Another player leaving a school with no basketball relevance on the Gator guard radar screen. Billy wake me when a player who signed with Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Texas, Louisville, UK are in line to give you a thumbs up thumbs down or whether the player takes their AA POY ratings and sign with us or New Mexico. Why does this guy fascinate Billy? Because he is a three point shooter. The road to NCAA tournament irrelevance has been paved by three point shooting guards with Auburn and Isreal 19 and under team like talent:

    Huertas
    Hodges
    Walker
    Tishman

    Seems like every time Donovan wants one of these marginal players a bunch of fans, who never heard of the guy during the player thinks the player sounds like a perfect fit for the Gators. They are probably right, for this current version of marginally relevant Gators. Certainly not a program aspiring to become relevant again.

    Please do not sign with the Gators and absorb scholarships from a potential future player.

  5. Another player leaving a school with no basketball relevance on the Gator guard radar screen. Billy wake me when a player who signed with Carolina, Duke, Michigan State, Gonzaga, Texas, Louisville, UK are in line to give you a thumbs up thumbs down on signing, or rather than waiting on whether a player takes their AA POY ratings and sign with us or New Mexico.

    Why does this guy fascinate Billy? Because he is a three point shooter. The road to NCAA tournament irrelevance has been paved by three point shooting guards with Auburn and Isreal 19 and under team like talent:

    Huertas
    Hodges
    Walker
    Tishman

    Seems like every time Donovan wants one of these marginal players a bunch of fans, who never heard of the guy during the player thinks the player sounds like a perfect fit for the Gators. They are probably right, for this current version of marginally relevant Gators. Certainly not a program aspiring to become relevant again.

    Please do not sign with the Gators and absorb scholarships from a potential future player.

  6. The Gators only shot 31% from long-range last year.
    The above poster doesn’t realize what it takes for this particular Florida team to excel in the regular season & NCAA tourney next year. The Gators already have the inside muscle (Young, Macklin, Murphy, Tyus, Kadji) and perimeter defense (Prather, Parsons). What they really need are more perimeter players that can shoot the three and play good defense. Having another guard and a great 3-pt shooter will help both Walker & Boynton be more efficient and productive players!
    Go get ’em Billy!

  7. If a player submits under Billy’s authority he will get the most out of a player. Even if he is under the radar of alot of other “top” schools. By the way Gatorsidney I don’t think UCLA is too far removed from the NCAA tourney (because they are looking at this kid too)!

  8. Jeremy,

    What makes you think players are not submitting to Billy’s authority as the reason why he is not getting the best out of a player. I think David Lee is a perfect example of a player Billy did not get the most out of and I am certain he was a compliant player. I feel the same way about most of his transfers, because they went on to play for good teams and coaches and were starters and played well.

    Boggans played for Eddie Sutton; White played for a hard nose man in Huggins at Cinnci, if he was not a submissive player he wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes with Huggy bear. If all the player transfers and issues are because the players were all selfish and not submissive, well the guy signing them to scholarships needs to take responsibility for misdiagnosing the coachability of so many players. I doubt he got so many players wrong, he can’t be that bad of a judge and evaluator of character.

    So which is it, is he a poor evaluator of character or are the players non-submissive. It has to be one or the other, you can’t have it booth ways.

  9. But of course, Gatorsidney knows all of these players personally, since he seems to know so much about them. White, by the way, was no better than an average player under Huggy Bear. I think that says more about the idiocy of the McDonald’s All America selection process. Jai Lucas would be another poster child for that dubious honor. Interesting to note that Butler had not one single McD’s AA on their squad. I think Calipari had 4 in his starting lineup, none of whom by the way, will be back at UK next season. Check the results of this year’s tourney, then get back to us recruiting.

  10. There are some good points made by all, but if we have a problem getting or retaining quality players we should address it. On the UK argument, every coach in America wish they would have had that team. They had one bad night at the wrong time. We seem to be having too many bad nights too many times. The talent level is not there , every other team seems to be pulling in the talent. Can we not retain the mediocre talent we do get, and the seemingly quality players seem to entertain the idea of coming to Fla because they want to be associated with a winning schoolbecause of Football or track or swimming or volleyball. I just read that the Rivers kid has now decommitted, there is a problem here thats not going away.

  11. Carolina Dan you are making an age old failing argument, which is “All American rankings mean nothing”. Over a 10 year period if I have 3 All Americans on my team and your teams have none, I am going to have more sustained success than you. There is one reason and one reason only why the Gator football program is a power house, and that is the coach has the top recruiting classes over a 5 year period, chocked full of All Americans. Sure, not every All American is going to pan out, but more of them do over time, than a bunch of 1-2 star players.

    James White Sr Year: Averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.9 blocks. Not bad stats, not sure what you are talking about. Moreover he was one of the teams top defensive players. Defense stoppers were in short supply for the Gators at that time, as they are now. I would have preferred those numbers and defense than Drejer who Donovan made it perfectly clear he would be playing behind, or Walsh.

  12. Gatorsidney, I make the age old arguments because that’s what I am, and old guy who, when at UF, watched games at Alligator Alley. I agree talent is important, but the right chemistry is as much or more so. On the Gator’s BTB Nat Championship teams, Brewer was the only McD AA, and none of the others, including Horford and Noah were considered top 100 high school kids. On the Dreyer comment, no argument from me there; that was waste, as does the addition of Tishman appear to have been.
    Rivers decommitting should not be a surprise, as he made his commitment way too early anyway.

  13. Carolina, just looked this up, Horford was 36th in the country, 7th at position when he was recruited. Noah was 75th in the country, 19th at position. Green and Humphrey were under the radar, but Chris Richard was a former Florida Mr. Basketball. So a more accurate comment would be not in the top 30.

  14. Gatorslam0607 is nuts, about as nutty as Tyus entering the draft. As soon as Billy lands a dominant big man (18pts.,12 reb.) we will be dancing to the championship again. If not, Tyus better gain 30 pounds of muscle and Macklin better find a brain and some common sense. The only “big” man we have is lazy as $%^& and none of the rest of them are 200 lbs soaking wet. FIND A BIG MAN BILLY!!!