Just a few weeks ago, four-star recruit Eric Bledsoe listed Florida as his “favorite” in the recruiting process.
Yet when Bledsoe announces what school he signs with Wednesday, it will come down to a decision between Memphis and Kentucky. Or at least that’s what Bledsoe recently told the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
How did Florida fall off the map? Theories range from Bledsoe’s ACT score (he reportedly has yet to qualify and is awaiting April test scores) to Florida coach Billy Donovan’s sudden dogged pursuit of John Wall.
Wall is not just the top-rated point guard prospect in the nation, but the top-rated overall prospect. In comparison, Rivals.com rated Bledsoe as the 23rd ranked prospect and third-ranked point guard in the country.
Bledsoe said he liked Florida in mid-April because he felt UF recruited him the hardest. When asked about another school moving to the forefront, Bledsoe’s response was “recruit me harder.” Apparently, Memphis and Kentucky did.
If it’s academic related, it would be easy to understand why Donovan backed off. In recent years, Donovan has lost two guards who signed letters of intent (Doneal Mack and Derwin Kitchen) because they were unable to qualify for enrollment at UF. Mack wound up at Memphis, while Kitchen, after junior college, ended up at Florida State.
The result, though, could leave Florida 0-for-3 on its targets for insurance if Nick Calathes keeps his name in the NBA draft. Former Alabama point guard Rico Pickett recently committed to Manhattan. Wall, meanwhile, is far from a lock. Florida is competing against traditional basketball heavyweights Kentucky and Duke for his services.
Wall has yet to visit UF. If he does, he will bring more than the baggage he will be carrying on his flight. On Monday, Wall was arrested on misdemeanor charges of breaking and entering in his native Raleigh, N.C.
Let’s keep in mind that the house was vacant and a male and female also were involved. So this could be more of a case of an immature mistake than something more serious or larcenous.
If Florida strikes out on Wall and Bledsoe, there’s no one on the horizon at this point to replace Calathes if he leaves. That would leave Florida with four guards coming into next season, Erving Walker, Ray Shipman, Adam Allen and incoming freshman McDonald’s All-American Kenny Boynton. Allen missed all of last season with knee problems but recently told me he expects to be 100 percent in time for next fall’s individual workouts.