Lily Svete commits to Butler, Gators

Amanda Butler has struck again! Florida’s first-year basketball coach, who already has commitments for 2008 from two of the top players in the country, got a 2009 commitment this past weekend from Lily Svete (6-2, small forward, Granger, IN Penn), who picked the Gators over Purdue, Penn State and Northwestern.

The Gators have commitments for 2008 from Azani Stewart (6-4, center, Middleburg, VA Notre Dame Academy) and Tailor Jones (6-0, shooting guard, Lake Mary, FL). Both will sign with the Gators during the early signing period in November.

Svete, who averaged 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last year as a sophomore, is considered one of the top ten players in the state of Indiana. She visited Florida along with her parents this past weekend, a visit that went so well she committed to Butler and the Gators on the spot. She is a junior at Penn High School but she felt that Florida is the right place and she wanted to put the recruiting process behind her so she could concentrate on improving her game and maintaining her strong, 3.7 GPA in the classroom.

“It puts a lot of stress on you when you’re trying to decide what school and some schools are putting pressure on you to pick by a deadline or else,” said Svete. “I knew in my gut that Florida was the right school. I knew it was the right place so I made the choice and I’m happy with it.”

Not only is she happy with the decision, her mom and dad are very comfortable with Coach Butler and the University of Florida.

“It [Florida] was probably the compete package,” said Jill Svete, Lily’s mom, in a phone conversation with Gator Country Tuesday morning. “It was academics, it was basketball, it was the location … just the entire package. Everything that was important to us, Florida had it.”

Lily’s mom and dad, Jill and Lee Svete, have been involved in higher education all their lives. Lee runs the career center at Notre Dame and Jill works at the information technology department at St. Mary’s College in South Bend.

The college atmosphere was an important part of the puzzle.

“I was already impressed with the academics, the coaching staff and the players,” said Lily, who had visited Florida once before. She watched how Florida’s coaches worked in practice this weekend and then spent some time with the players going places in Gainesville. When she added it all together, she knew she had found the perfect fit.

“It just came to me that there aren’t a lot of places that have what I’m looking for compared to Florida,” said Lily.

“My children have grown up in college towns and that’s what they look for — the interaction in the community and the atmosphere,” said Jill Svete. “That was probably the important factor in her decision … what the town was like, the community was like. She liked Gainesville. She went out with the players and enjoyed the atmosphere and felt very comfortable.”

Lily says that her strength is her vesatility. She is as comfortable shooting from the three-point arc as she is going inside to bang.

“I I can face the basket and shoot and I can post up,” she said. “I can handle the ball and bring it up against the press.”

She plans to spend her junior and senior seasons working on the areas of her game that have to have the most improvement.

“I need to work on my speed and my defense,” she said. “Those are areas I can improve just by working hard and being more dedicated. I can also be more consistent in every area.”

She said she prefers everything to be organized, but admits that if there is one area that sometimes falls into disarray it is her room.

“My room isn’t the cleanest in the world,” she said. “I had to make a big presentation and I had a lot of stuff going on so it’s not exactly neat these days but everything can be disorganized for only a certain amount of time and then I can’t take it anymore.”

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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.