Former Florida point guard Dan Cross helped lead the Gators to their first Final Four appearance in school history 21 years ago.
And once again, Cross is returning to the site of his college glory, holding his annual youth camp from July 28-31 (next Tuesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at St. Francis High School in Gainesville.
Cross is living in Orlando, where he runs an employment agency for recent college athlete graduates called athlete connections. Also, Cross is the philanthropic director of former NFL player Jeff Faine’s foundation, which provided transitional homes and life skills training for foster children.
“I’m still trying to do what I can to help children in need,” Cross said.
Cross was part of a breakthrough team coached by Lon Kruger that included guard Craig Brown, forward Andrew DeClercq, center Dametri Hill and forward Brian Thompson. As a three-seed, the Gators upset top-seed Connecticut in overtime in the Sweet 16, then knocked off Boston College in the Elite Eight before falling in the Final Four in Charlotte, N.C., to Grant Hill-led Duke.
DeClercq still lives in Orlando, while Brown, a former UCF assistant coach, recently left the country to take a job as NBA director of basketball operations in Hong Kong. Thompson is living in Atlanta while Hill is in St. Petersburg.
“We’re all transitioning out of basketball, have jobs, families,” Cross said. “But we all still try to get together at least once a year for reunions.”
Cross still follows the Gators closely. He has yet to meet new UF basketball coach Michael White, but plans to do so next week. He’ll also cross paths with White at a booster event on Aug. 17 in the Orlando area.
“It was definitely a surprise,” Cross said of Billy Donovan leaving after 19 seasons at UF. “But (athletic director) Jeremy (Foley) does a good job finding coaches. I believe Coach White will be the right fit.”
Asked about Florida’s point guard play last season with sophomore Kasey Hill and freshman Chris Chiozza, Cross responded: “They were solid. The point guard is a key role when you get into SEC play and later in the tournament. You have to continue to learn to be a leader and learn how to lead.”
For more information on Cross’s camp, or to register, visit website www.acforyouth.org