Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

The early signing period for basketball (November 14-21) began today and by the time the weekend is here, the Florida Gators will have the faxed Letters of Intent from all five of their recruits for the Class of 2008. This is one of the best recruiting classes in the country in terms of talent. In terms of finding the right pieces to make the overall puzzle fit together, Billy Donovan did as good or better job than anyone else in the country. I think the Gators are a top five team right now and that ranking could be top three in the spring if these five recruits improve the way that I think they will.

Here are the five Florida recruits and my observations:

ERVING WALKER (5-7, 140, Middle Village, NY Christ the King): When he was 13 he was considered the best young prospect in the nation. His talent hasn’t diminished, it’s just that he hasn’t grown an inch since then and that’s why his ranking dropped in the eyes of some of the experts. This is the BEST three-point shooter in the country and with a game on the line, this is the guy you want taking a three-point shot. He is tough physically and he will lay his body on the line. He is New York playground smart so he plays the game on edge. I only had to watch him play one game at the Bob Gibbons Tournament to know Florida had a keeper. I watched him take over a game with his shooting, passing and defense.

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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.