Gators eye prospect north of border


Florida has had success recruiting the Northeast during the Billy Donovan era.

But the Gators may wind up extending its reach even farther north for its next commitment.

According to a source, Canadian big-man Chris Egi has received a scholarship offer to Florida after a strong showing in front of UF coaches at the Summer Showcase in Orlando. Egi is listed at 6-foot-8 in some recruiting websites, 6-9 in others. At 205 pounds, Egi is rangy and athletic and would fit nicely in front of UF’s press.

Another plus —  Egi is an exceptional student, with a 95 percent grade average in his native Markham, Ontario. As a result, Egi is mulling offers from a number of Ivy League Schools and public ivys, including Columbia, Harvard, Stanford and California. If Egi winds up at UF, he could follow in a line of other expectational UF basketball scholar athletes, a list that includes former (and current) SEC scholar athletes of the year Lee Humphrey, Ray Shipman and Patric Young.

Born in September of 1996, Egi is listed in the class of 2015, but could reclassify to 2014. He’s enrolled this fall at Montverde Academy outside Orlando, which should provide ample opportunities to visit the UF campus. And Montverde coach Kevin Boyle has a strong relationship with Donovan, having passed along sophomore guard Michael Frazier II and incoming freshman point guard Kasey Hill to the Gators.

Canada has become a recent hotbed for amateur basketball talent. Brampton, Ontario native Anthony Bennett, who strongly considered UF before ending up at UNLV, had a breakout freshman season and wound up as the No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2013 NBA draft. And incoming freshman Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) could follow Bennett as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Wiggins will visit the O’Connell Center on Dec. 10 when Florida hosts Kansas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge.

— It didn’t surprise me that former Gator point guard Nick Calathes had his draft rights traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday. Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien has been a fan of Calathes since he set back-to-back records for assists in a season in his two seasons at UF (2008, 2009). Calathes never quite lived up to expectations in Gainesville, but had little talent around him on rebuilding teams and ended his two-year career with a fractured relationship with Donovan. He still will have a challenge making the Grizzlies’ roster, but could find a spot if he beats out Tony Wroten and veteran Keyon Dooling in preseason camp. The fact that Calathes is 6-foot-6 and is versatile enough to play multiple positions could help his chances.