Cross on air

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Fans who tune into tonight’s Florida-UCF game on the Gator radio network will be in for a surprise.

Former Gator guard Dan Cross, a member of Florida’s first Final Four team in 1994, will handle color commentary duties alongside play-by-play man Mick Hubert.

It’s the first of seven games that Cross is scheduled to broadcast this season. Cross had dabbled in broadcasting during a 10-year basketball career overseas, but will call his first college basketball game Saturday.

“I’ve always had an interest in doing games on radio, on television,” said Cross, who was a communications major at Florida. “So I look at this as a great opportunity.”

Cross’s professional basketball career came to an abrupt end three years ago when he ruptured an Achilles tendon while playing for a team in Tel Aviv, Israel, “being an old man, stubborn, that was probably the only way they were going to get me off the court,” Cross said.

Cross, 35, has since settled in Orlando, where he runs a non-profit corporation athlete connections (www.athleteconnections.org), which helps college athletes connect with potential job opportunities when their eligibility expires. He lives in the same neighborhood with former 1994 Gator teammates Craig Brown (an assistant coach at UCF) and Andrew DeClercq (who finished his NBA career with the Orlando Magic three years ago.) Dametri Hill, the center from the 1994 team, is still playing basketball overseas.

Cross said he’s looking forward to providing his perspective as a color guy. “Being a former point guard, hopefully my knowledge of the game, my knowledge of plays, will carry through,” Cross said. “And being a former Gator hopefully I can provide some enthusiasm.”