Like most around the country, ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale is high on Florida’s backcourt.
But Vitale said he feels that Florida’s fortunes this season will rest on the play sophomore center Patric Young.
“I think Patric Young has to be a major force inside for the Gators this season,” Vitale said during a conference call Wednesday. “(Erik) Murphy is going to come along, but they are going to need Young to be able to continue to develop as a player and a scorer inside.”
Vitale said the addition of guards Bradley Beal and Mike Rosario will add more than enough punch for UF on the perimeter, “Rosario averaged what, 16 points (16.7 ppg for Rutgers in 2009-10) in his last season in the Big East,” Vitale said. “So you can only imagine what he will be able to do in the SEC.”
In the Southeastern Conference, Vitale said Kentucky, “is flat out loaded at every position,” he said. “The key for them will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and (Marquis) Teague on the perimeter.” Vitale also likes Vanderbilt and Alabama as a darkhorse team.
“People talk about Alabama and the first thing that comes to mind is Nick Saban and the football program,” Vitale said. “But (Alabama coach and former UF assistant) Anthony Grant has done a great job building that program with JaMychal Green and Trever Releford.”
Vitale will begin his 33rd season as an ESPN college basketball analyst when he calls Friday night’s Carrier Classic between North Carolina and Michigan State. The game will be played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson at 7 p.m. in San Diego, Calif.
— Former Gator forward Chandler Parsons is back town, rehabbing an injured ankle after a two-month stint playing overseas in France. Parsons had an opt clause out of his contract after two months. A second round pick of the Houston Rockets last June, Parsons remains in limbo until the NBA Lockout ends.
— Florida did not announce its 2012 class on the first day of signing day, but commitments Braxton Ogbueze, Dillon Graham and Michael Frazier all signed and faxed their letters of intent to UF on Wednesday. The class of Ogbueze, Graham and Frazier, all guards, is ranked 24th in the nation in ESPNUs 2012 team recruiting rankings.
— Florida is projected as a No. 2 seed in the South Region in ESPN.com’s initial bracketology.