Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

The Florida Gators are moving closer to landing the fifth and final piece of their basketball recruiting class of 2008. With four in the fold and the Gators looking for one more big man, all eyes have been focused on Eloy Vargas (6-10, 220, Plantation, FL American Heritage). Coach Billy Donovan did an in-home visit with Vargas’ parents in Santiago, Dominican Republic last week.

The gap between a commitment for the Florida Gators from big man deluxe Eloy Vargas (6-10, 220, Plantation, FL American Heritage) seems to have narrowed considerably to the point that it would surprise no one if the commitment happens between now and October 1. Gator Country sources in both South Florida and the Dominican Republic seem to be in agreement that Coach Billy Donovan has become the dominant figure in this recruiting battle.

After Vargas made his official visit to Florida on the September 1 weekend, word leaked out that the big man was blown away by the visit but wanted approval of his parents back in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Apparently Donovan has secured the okay from Mr. and Mrs. Vargas.

“Coach Donovan did his in-home visit with me and my parents last week and then he flew down to Dominican Republic to meet with Eloy’s mom and dad,” said Florida commitment Ray Shipman (6-5, 205, Opa-Locka, FL Monsignor Pace), a good friend of Eloy Vargas.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.