Franz Beard’s Basketball Confidential

DURHAM, NC — On the eve of the annual Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, maybe the best run AAU basketball tournament anywhere in the country and certainly the most prestigious, there was an unexpected twist and turn in Florida’s recruiting fortunes for the class of 2008. When Trey Thompkins committed to the Georgia Bulldogs Thursday morning, it was not only a surprise to the Gators, but to several other teams that thought they had a shot at the 6-9, 230-pound power forward from Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

Georgia was thought to be in the mix for Thompkins but so were the Gators, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and UCLA. With the Gibbons Tournament played on the Carolina campus this weekend, no one would have been surprised if the Tar Heels had moved closer to the top although most experts thought Thompkins was Florida’s recruit to lose. Thompkins was on campus for Florida’s game with Ohio State back in December and again on Senior Day against Kentucky.

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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.