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.