A former Gator resurfaced on Tuesday afternoon in an ESPN-televised FIBA exhibition game between USA and Greece.
Former UF point guard Nick Calathes played 23 minutes off the bench for the Greek national team, which lost 87-59 to the Americans. Calathes finished with seven points, three assists and one steal. But against a physical, defensive-oriented U.S. squad, Calathes also had three turnovers.
It still makes you wonder what could have been if Calathes stuck around for his junior season at Florida. Calathes had set single-season assist records and was the leading scorer in each of his first two years at UF. But surprsingly, he left school never playing in an NCAA Tournament game.
Calathes had an up-and-down first season in the Greek A1 league. Playing mostly off the bench for Panathinaikos, Calathes averaged 4.0 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2 assists per game. Close friend and current UF senior Chandler Parsons traveled to Greece last May to watch Calathes play in the Greek A1 league final four.
“He’s doing well over there,” Parsons said. “He’s enjoying it.”
Had Calathes stuck around in 2009-10, Florida could have played three guards (Calathes-Kenny Boynton-Erving Walker) or brought Walker off the bench for another season. Either way, the Gators would have been deeper in the backcourt, which may have resulted in a better record and deeper run in the NCAA Tournament.
As the 45th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Calathes is currently property of the Dallas Mavericks. But don’t be surprised if he stays in Greece for the remainder of his contract (two more years at $1.6 million per year) to continue to develop his game for the NBA level.
Other Florida notes:
— Had a chance to catch up with Tyrone Green, Joakim Noah’s former PAL league coach in New York City. Noah recently donated $15,000 for one of Green’s youth-league tournaments in Astoria, Queens. Noah was supposed to do a joint camp in Gainesville with Corey Brewer, but backed out due to a scheduling conflict. But Green said that Noah plans to do camps in Jacksonville and Orlando next summer. Stay tuned.
— Florida hasn’t set times for all of its non-conference games yet. But through the grapevine I’ve found out that the Gator tip against Ohio State on Nov. 16 will be at 6 p.m. on ESPN as part of ESPNs 24 hours of college hoops (Butler and Louisville will follow at 8 p.m. in the debut game of Louisville’s new downtown arena). Also, UF’s game against FSU on Nov. 28, the Sunday after the football game, will tip at either 5:30 or 7 p.m. and air nationally on Fox Sports Cable.