Calathes on Speights


Nick Calathes said he wasn’t surprised that center Marreese Speights kept his name in the NBA draft, leaving Florida after his sophomore season.
“I thought at the end of the year he was going to go,” Calathes said. “Just because a lot of people were talking about him going. He was talking about it. Not many big guys have that potential or athleticism. He could do a lot with it.”
Speights is projected as a mid-to-late first round pick in several NBA mock drafts. Calathes said he and the rest of his team were supportive of the decision.
“We were happy for him,” Calathes said. “If it was his time to leave, it was his time to leave. They are saying he’s going to be a first round draft pick. I think he could help us one more year, but you know I’m happy for him because he’s a heck of a player with great potential.”
Calathes, who leaves for Greece on Saturday to try out for the Greek national team, also is looking forward to the chance to play next season in his hometown. Ticketmaster announced on Thursday that Florida will face Missouri-Kansas City in a non-conference game at Amway Arena in Orlando on Nov. 30 (tickets go on sale Friday morning at 10 a.m.). Calathes and teammate Chandler Parsons are from Casselberry, a suburb east of Orlando.
“I’m really excited going back to my hometown,” Calathes said. “Me and Chandler were talking about it yesterday. We haven’t been back there since the high school season started, so it’s a good opportunity.”
Calathes said he’s looking forward to building on a freshman season in which he set the school record for assists and earned league co-freshman of the year honors. He acknowledged that practice habits may have played a role in Florida’s late-season meltdown last March.
“We’re definitely going be working harder in practice because I know that’s one thing we could have done better last year,” Calathes said.