LOIs are in for Florida hoops

The University of Florida men’s basketball team took a major step towards filling some of its gaps from last year’s early NBA departures, as head coach Billy Donovan received National Letters of Intent from five high profile standouts.

The Gators received letters of intent from power forwards Eloy Vargas (American Heritage HS/Plantation, Fla./Dominican Republic), and Allan Chaney (New London HS/New London, CT), center Kenny Kadji (IMG Academy and Pendleton School/Bradenton, Fla./Cameroon), guard Ray Shipman (Monsignor Pace HS/Miramar, Fla.) and point guard Erving Walker (Christ The King HS/Brooklyn, NY).

“We’re very excited about this year’s recruiting class,” said Donovan. “We felt like we had to address some areas with the early departures we had last year, and were able to do that with some size in the frontcourt, while adding quality players to the backcourt and perimeter as well.”

Vargas is a 6-10, 210-pound native of the Dominican Republic who averaged 21.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game for American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla., last year. Chaney, who stands 6-9, 220lbs., averaged 25.0 points and 14.0 rebounds for New London High School during his junior year.

Kadji, already 6-10 and 240 lbs., is a native of Cameroon, but has been in Bradenton, Fla., playing at the IMG Academy and the Pendleton School and played on the AAU level for the Florida Rams, the same team that produced current Gator Marreese Speights.

Another product of the Florida Rams, Ray Shipman will join the Gator backcourt next season. The 6-5 shooting guard was the MVP for Monsignor Pace’s 4A state championship team a year ago.

Walker was named to the New York Daily News All-City first team and to the New York Post All-CHSAA first team a year ago. The 5-8 point guard averaged 17.5 points, 5.3 assists and 2.0 steals per game for tradition-rich Christ The King.