GatorCountry.com brings you a new podcast as we recap the Florida Gators basketball team’s win over Auburn and Alabama.
Andrew and Nick de la Torre talk with Eric Fawcett about how the Gators beat those teams, plus how they match-up against Kentucky on Saturday.
Andrew and Nick also talk to Eric about where the Gators stand as far as seeding goes in the NCAA tournament.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, we’re back. It’s basketball time. Our man Eric is here. He hasn’t jinxed anybody, so do not be messing with my man Eric. He can stay alive for a couple weeks.
Nick: Before we started, I said we figured out the formula. We just can’t have Eric talk before the Gators play a basketball game. We’ll have him talk after the games, and he can tell us what happened. When he talks before, they lose. Florida plays a game Saturday. We might not have to talk about it today.
Andrew: Eric, do not, don’t you dare speak of any kind of win on Saturday.
Eric: I will keep the W word out of my vocabulary. It’s just crazy. You jinx one game early in the season, and you never shake the reputation.
Nick: Spivey will not let it go.
Eric: That is something I have to live with. I can take that.
Andrew: There you go. Listen, Coach White, he may bring you in to speak to other teams.
Eric: If Cal Perry wants me in their locker room before Saturday, I would be happy to go in there and give those guys a piece of my mind.
Andrew: The only locker room I’d tell you to say out of is Frank Martin. He may tie you up in there.
Eric: Better stay out of there. He might give me, the way he was named in the FBI probe, maybe he’ll give me a couple thousand bucks. Maybe I want to be in there.
Nick: I thought it was hilarious. After Florida beats Auburn, some of the fans are throwing money at Auburn as they leave the O Dome court. Auburn self-reported themselves to the NCAA to say, we had some money thrown at us while we were leaving a game.
Andrew: For $6. Then, what is even funnier, Bruce Pearl thinks the administration is going to give that $6 back to Florida.
Eric: That is hilarious. I can just see them mailing it in a giant cardboard box, like six dollar bills. It’s just so funny to me. Obviously, Auburn was named in that FBI probe. They’re missing two of their best players. Bruce Pearl has probably been in their compliance office enough already the whole season, so I just imagine their compliance officer doing their work, and suddenly Bruce Pearl comes in. They’re like, what’s next? And he has a fist full of dollar bills that he says Florida, the student section, gave to his players. The visual is hilarious to me.
Nick: I really enjoyed Mark Fox. They asked Mark Fox, who’s the head basketball coach at Georgia, about it, and he said he’s disgusted, this and that. Who is surprised by any of this stuff going on with the FBI and what we’re finding out about these schools? I’m not surprised. It’s always been like college basketball’s dirty secret. The fact that it’s coming out now is not surprising to me whatsoever.
Andrew: Here’s another thing. Mark Fox, dude, you get a five-star like every couple years. Bro, who are you paid?
Eric: He just lost a five-star too. Ashton Hagans just decommitted from him. I do like the guy. Also, you’re talking about all these coaches getting involved, that was also in the back of my mind when Mike White slander hit an all-time high, when Florida was on their losing streak there. People were talking about maybe him getting fired, which we all think is ridiculous. That was also in the back of my mind. You’re seeing all these other top level coaches getting named in FBI probes, so I’d be pretty content to stay with our great young coach who has a great track record of being clean, before paying a whole bunch of money to bring in someone who might get named in an FBI scandal two weeks later.
Nick: I’m interested to see when stuff starts coming out and how it affects, potentially, the selection committee.
Andrew: I want to talk more about this in depth here at the end of the show, Eric and Nick. I was reading some things on Wednesday. We’re taping this in Wednesday. I wanted to kind of talk about why it’s different with basketball and football, but we’ll talk about that at the end of the show. Let’s first talk about the win over Auburn, and then the crushing of Alabama.
Eric: I was excited to talk about both of those games. Like Andrew mentioned, we normally record on Tuesday. Even if there was a game on Tuesday, we normally still do Tuesday and recap that one, but we said let’s wait until after the Alabama game and do Wednesday. It’s super nice to come here and talk about a great win. Obviously, the Auburn one was another marquee win.
What’s really crazy is, as much as Florida’s had some rough patches, if you look at the AP top 25 right now, which the selection committee doesn’t, so maybe it’s a little bit unfair, but you see Cincinnati. You see Auburn, and you see Gonzaga in the top 12, and Florida’s beaten all of that. Even though the selection committee isn’t looking at the AP Poll, the AP Poll shows who is good in college basketball, and Florida’s beaten three top 12 teams currently. Auburn dropped after the loss. That looks great for Florida.
Then to follow that up with a huge drubbing of Alabama, which the score looks dominating, but it doesn’t even tell the story. I feel like Florida beat them worse than that 20-point spread looked. It could have been 40 if Florida kept their foot on the gas, but you got to give guys rest. Obviously, absolutely Alabama absolutely embarrassed the Gators in Gainesville, for the Gators to be able to come back and take a 20-point loss for their own flip it the other way around and get that huge win themselves, that shows a team that’s getting hot at the right time, coming into the end of the NCAA Tournament. That’s massive.
Andrew: I told you, Eric, when we started to talk about this podcast, I said I had to talk about my man, Kevaughn Allen. I don’t know why. I’m sitting here Saturday night typing up Junior Day stories, all that good jazz, while they’re playing Auburn, and I see the three-quarter length shot. He makes it. To myself, I said, KeVaughn Allen is about to become a man-child in the second half. It is exactly what KeVaughn Allen needs. It’s one of those where if KeVaughn Allen hits a shot, beware. He’s about to go crazy. He does.
Eric: We know his confidence can be fleeting. We know that sometimes he has those games where he goes out and takes two shot attempts and misses both of them. Then, obviously, he has his games where he goes and puts up 17 shots and scores a bunch of points. For him to see that shot go in, even though it’s a circus shot. It’s a 65-foot heave. That still feels really good. You don’t always seen KeVaughn Allen smiling, both on the court and off the court, and he couldn’t help but break a huge smile as he got mobbed there.
That really helps a guy whose confidence maybe always hasn’t been at a high. Which is so funny, a shot that maybe has a lot of luck to it, but also he put himself in a great position to put up a good heave. Just to see that go through, that brings confidence. That’s really good.
That’s someone Mike White has always said when Florida struggled, that KeVaughn Allen needs to be more of a leader if this team is going to play better basketball. For him to get a lot better and start playing some good basketball here at the end of the season, better late than never. I’d rather have them get hot now than never. Hopefully he can keep it up. He’s had some of these big shooting nights where he can hit tough shots late in the shot clock, which Florida hasn’t been very good at, and that’s always helpful. If he can keep it going, that’ll be wonderful.
Nick: Do you think Mike White’s grassroots movement of having every student on campus tell KeVaughn to shoot the ball worked?
Eric: I hope so, and I really hope it happened. Like we were talking about, he’s such a shy kid that the concept of strangers on campus just looking him dead in the eye and saying shoot the ball and nothing else is another great visual. We’re talking great visuals on the podcast today. So, I really hope it happened, and I hope it happened multiple times. He’s played some good basketball, so I’ll say it worked.
Nick: Not comparing games of the two guys I’ll mentioned, but somebody said, I’ve never seen somebody with that much superstar game potential be so quiet and so adverse. It’s like Kawhi Leonard. KeVaughn said that he didn’t know that his three-quarter shot was #1 on Sports Center, because he doesn’t watch TV. I’m like, yeah, that makes sense. I would be more surprised if KeVaughn Allen was like, I never miss Sports Center. I don’t know what KeVaughn Allen could tell me that he does, other than living in the gym and shooting, that I’d think, that makes sense. He’s so quiet, so reserved. When he says, I don’t watch TV, I’m like, that makes sense. I get it. You don’t watch Netflix. You might not have an internet connection. It would all make sense to me.
Andrew: Someone just needs to tell him he’s in an open gym, and he’s just shooting. That’s what they just need to tell him in game. Eric, correct me if I’m wrong here, but when the guy shoots, good things happen.
Eric: That’s kind of the thing. He’s never been a terribly efficient player, which is the one kind of knock I have on him. He hasn’t had a lot of games where he’s shot 50% from the field. Even against Auburn, he was kind of hovering at 50%, which is great. Don’t get me wrong. For a performance that everyone thought was explosive and incredible, it wasn’t an insanely efficient night. Anyways, he has those nights where he goes 6 for 13 or 14 from the field, and has 16 points, or he has nights where he’s 1 for 6 from the field and doesn’t take many shots.
Like you mentioned, I think it’s better off to let him get shots up and have him take some half decent looks instead of just hunting for those perfect ones. If those shots start to fall, and they need to start worrying about him, and then they also have Jalen Hudson and Chris Chiozza and Keith Stone spacing things out, then Florida becomes tough to defend. Like you mentioned, KeVaughn Allen just needs to shoot the basketball. Florida is not going to win with him going 0 for 3 from the field or 1 for 4 from the field. He’s got to get looks up, because we know looks are going to be there for him.
Andrew: The thing to me, and it’s like I was going to say next, Jalen Hudson has 27 against Bama on Tuesday night. It’s kind of the opposite. Jalen Hudson is going to shoot. It doesn’t matter if Jalen Hudson is 0 for 700,000. He’s going to shoot. It doesn’t matter. He’s just going to shoot. KeVaughn Allen, like you said, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to have an 0 for 10 night if he takes 10 shots.
Let me ask you this. What’s been different the last two games in this team?
Eric: Jalen Hudson was a guy, you mentioned him. He’s pretty hot and cold, and he was real cold during that losing stretch. You see Alabama last night. Alabama actually defended really well for the first 30 minutes of the game, but Jalen Hudson was hitting tough shots that you could tell just demoralized them. When you play 27 seconds of really good defense, and then you have Jalen Hudson with a guy in face step back to his left side, throw up kind of a weird jump shot where the ball comes from behind his head, and it’s just nothing but net, that just sinks you. That fatigues you mentally, and physically, it feels like, when you give up a shot like that. That really helped.
Florida’s defense is really locked in. For a team that we were talking about in the early season that they’re going to be able to score, but will they defend? Now all the metrics say that this is a better defensive team than offensive team. They’ve become a top 25 defensive team by a lot of metrics, which whether your I Tests back that up, whatever. They kept Alabama to that crazy stretch in the first half where they went 0 for 25 from the field over 17 minutes. That is absurd.
I was almost going to jinx something yesterday actually.
Nick: Sometimes you just can’t help yourself.
Eric: I showed a little bit of restraint.
Nick: I have to.
Eric: Alabama shot 13.3% in the first half, so I went and looked at the NCAA record, which I actually did the other day because Pitt had a really bad first half. Anyways, I was looking to see what’s the record for the lowest field goal percentage in an NCAA Division I basketball game, and it was 13.3%, so I was going to say Florida is keeping Alabama at a historically low field goal percentage.
Andrew: There you go.
Eric: Anyways, to see the defense locked in was something that probably no one expected, and that’s been the difference. If they can have one of KeVaughn Allen or Jalen Hudson have a good offensive game and defend like they defended the past few games, they’re going to beat a lot of teams in the country.
Andrew: See, I think that was the biggest thing against Auburn. Auburn, I want to say had their lowest point total in the first half of the season on Saturday.
Andrew: Against a Bruce Pearl team, listen, they play good defense, but they’re known for their offense. I thought that was the biggest thing. It seemed like at times they would go in a slump offensively, but they were still playing good defense. It’s late defense as well that this team did well, especially in the Auburn game. They rebounded well. I go back to one of the biggest plays in the game in the Auburn game was the Egor rebound, in between the two guys. It just seemed like no matter what in both games they were still playing good defense, and late in the game they were still finding ways to score the ball.
Eric: I think for better or for worse, playing in close games throughout your regular season is going to pay off later in the season.
Andrew: Has to.
Eric: Yeah. Florida has won some close games in dramatic fashion. You look at Gonzaga. They’ve also lost a bunch of close games, and those losses really hurt. Hurt to lose to Duke in a tight game. We had tight games against Mississippi and South Carolina that we lost close. Georgia in overtime, that was heartbreaking. Vanderbilt, even Tennessee. These are all tight games that the Gators lost, and that brings you valuable experience, so that when you’re playing Auburn, and it’s coming down the stretch, and you need a winning play like a big rebound in traffic from a smaller guy like Koulechov, they’re ready to do it.
That is something that I think is one of the benefits of playing a tough nonconference schedule. Even though you take losses in the nonconference schedule, you’re used to playing these tight games that make it so that when you play late in the regular season you can win these tight games. If you look at the difference, the Auburn game is a great example, because Auburn played a really soft nonconference schedule, and Florida played a really hard nonconference schedule. Auburn entered the SEC season with a really good-looking record. Florida had a bunch of losses that didn’t look so good, just in the loss category, not that they were against good teams. You see late in the stretch, Florida is the team that’s played more close games this year. Florida executed better. Florida won.
I think that’s something that’s probably been a little bit understated. A lot of people were mad at Florida for taking nonconference losses, but they scheduled a tough nonconference. The reason you schedule tough nonconference games is so you’re ready when you play Auburn in the third last game of the season and it comes down to the stretch. You can get that W.
Nick: We talk about that all the time, Andrew and I do, with baseball and softball, because Kevin O’Sullivan always schedules a ridiculous nonconference, and the same over in softball. I want to ask, not to take away from the win against Auburn, but how much did the loss of McCallum, is Auburn still the same team? Does that win over Auburn take a hit at all in perception or from the committee when you say that one of their best offensive players was not in the game, was not playing?
Andrew: And they lost to Arkansas on Tuesday night.
Eric: Yeah. It definitely isn’t quite as pretty of a win as it would have been if they were totally healthy. To be honest, it was almost scary to think Florida, even though Auburn is not big, they still had their front court really bully Florida’s, and that was obviously without McLemore, one of their best players. McLemore is like 2.7 blocks per game. One of the best rim protectors in the country, which is also super impressive, because he’s 6’7” only. It was definitely a big hit, but you did see them go out and dominate Alabama right after they lost, which I guess now Alabama’s lost four in a row and got blown out a couple times.
They’ve shown they can play without them. Honestly, they played really good basketball against Florida. We saw them play great. I have a feeling they’ll still maybe grab a few wins in the SEC Tournament. If they lost every game left, they would still be a top 15 RPI team. They would still sit in the AP top 25. It’s still a great win, regardless, but, like you said, it’s not quite the win that it would have been if Auburn was totally healthy.
Andrew: Looking at the Kentucky game, Eric, what does Florida need to do in this game, not to get the W, but what do they need to do in this game? I mean, absolutely get the W, but I don’t want you to predict the W. That’s what I’m trying to get at.
Andrew: Kentucky is a better basketball team than they have shown, maybe even than the record has shown. I think they’re getting better. I think Kentucky is one of the hotter teams in the country right now. What does Florida need to do in this game? Is it strictly defense?
Eric: You mentioned it. They’re the youngest team in college basketball, and therefore when you played them in January they’re not going to be as good as they are in February, or March by the time that we play them. They’re constantly getting better. It seems like people see that every year. Kentucky takes losses early, and the people are like, maybe they’re not as good as we think they are. Then they get pretty hot.
Nick: I was going to say, they’re the youngest team in basketball this year, and almost every year the way that Cal recruits.
Eric: Totally. Cal Perry says it every time, especially after a loss. After Florida beat him he said it like four times in the postgame how they’re the youngest team, but they’re also the youngest team he’s ever had. They are young, and that means that they start a little bit lower than every other team, but they usually get better rapidly, and that’s what happens when you have that many five-stars, that many high-level athletes.
Andrew, you mentioned defense. The thing about Kentucky is they’ve scored the ball better recently, but a lot of their offense is still offensive rebounds, transitions, things where they out-athlete you. You don’t want them to get running. When you have Hamidou Diallo and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox running at you, that’s three guys that are long, athletic. They can jump over you. They can finish around you with their length.
That’s why I think this is kind of an interesting game, because I think if Florida scores they’re going to be able to set their defense. Kentucky won’t be able to run on them in transition, and then Kentucky will have a tougher time scoring. If Florida starts missing shots, then Kentucky can get out in transition and score. I feel like the game is going to really snowball on one of these teams. Either Florida is going to start missing shots, so then obviously not only are they not scoring, but they’re giving transition opportunities to Kentucky, or Kentucky is not going to be able to get stops, and therefore they’re not going to be able to run and score.
I feel like there’s the opportunity for this game to really swing in one team’s direction. I could see it being close, because obviously the first matchup with these teams was tight. They are two really good basketball teams that are some of the best in the SEC, and some of the best in the country. There’s also potential for it to really snowball in one team’s direction, so that’ll be really interesting to see.
Andrew: When you look at this game, this game could end up depending on whether Florida gets a bye in the SEC or not. Last week you said you thought Florida, or you didn’t say needed, but you thought it would be a good thing if Florida played one of those first games for the NCAA. I think we can all agree now Florida’s in the NCAA Tournament. Now you want that bye, correct?
Eric: Totally. With those two wins, depending on what service you use, I’ve seen Florida anywhere from a 5 to a 7 or 8 seed. The range has gotten smaller at least, after those wins. I would say let’s balance it out. I think Florida is a 6 seed. You look at some teams that had a loss the other night. Anyways, I think Florida is probably a 6 seed right now. When you get to that point, I think you’re pretty content. I think Florida would be pretty content to take that bye, get that rest, and then maybe try to get some wins later in the SEC Tournament that can vault them up. I think the rest would be valuable for this team. Obviously, you’ve seen so many nights Florida’s starters all play above, more than 30 minutes. That’s got to wear on you. We know Gorjok Gak has been out with injury. Maybe a couple days of extra rest could get him back in the rotation.
I think you definitely want the bye, especially with the teams that Florida plays. At least it would be opportunities for good wins, and they wouldn’t be losses that if Florida took a loss in that first or second round or whatever, because they didn’t have a double bye, it wouldn’t sink them, for sure. There’s no teams that a loss would drop them a seed line or anything. I think the rest is valuable. It’s looking like they’ll probably have the bye, because there’s even some situations where if they don’t beat Kentucky, if some of the other games fall as they could, Florida could still have the double bye. I think that would be really nice for the team.
Andrew: Listen, it’s like you say, you’re looking at anywhere from a 5 to an 8 seed. You go out and win the SEC Tournament, you may get that 5 seed.
Eric: Oh, yeah. It’s going to be actually really interesting to see what the committee does with Florida. I’m really not too much into bracketology. I kind of focus on the games here and see what happens. They have the new quadrant system. Everyone is talking about that. You always see like here’s a Quadrant 1 victory opportunity for the Gators. They’re using that system, and Florida is currently 3rd in the country in Quadrant 1 wins. That’s crazy. That’s really good. They obviously have some losses that are not very good, but we’ve seen in the past that the committee has looked more positively on wins than they look negatively at bad losses.
Like you were saying, if Florida can win the SEC Tournament, or even get to the finals, that’s going to add a bunch more, considering these games will be on neutral courts, of course, a lot more Quadrant 1 victories. Florida has an opportunity at have the most, second most, Quadrant 1 victories in basketball. Even though they have some bad losses, to see what the committee does with them, that would be crazy, because if a team has the first or second most Quadrant 1 wins, even if they have bad losses, I feel like you could still justify them being a 2 or 3 seed. Easily you could justify that.
I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Florida just needs to play good basketball, and they’ll get a seed that they’re deserving of. I don’t get too much into the bracketology. Like Andrew said, we are in, for sure. That feels great. Let’s hopefully win some games.
Andrew: Here’s my thing to you, Eric, and me and you have talked about this all through texts all the time, and I said this. I said Florida’s going to be the team when people are filling out brackets that they say, what the hell do I do? Because Florida is a team that if Florida made it to the Final Four it wouldn’t shock anyone. If Florida lost in Round 1, it wouldn’t shock anyone. It just is what this team is. I think Florida going in with momentum is good. This team rides momentum like it’s nothing. When they’re down, they’re down. They’re just a team that plays with so much emotion. I don’t know if you can say a 5 or 6 seed is better for this team, because this team could be a 1 seed and still lose. That’s just the way this team is.
Eric: Yeah. It’s just crazy. If you start to look at these teams that are probably going to be the top seeds in the NCAA Tournament, 1, 2, 3 seeds. You look at them, and you say if Florida was matched up with them in my bracket, would I have them beating Florida? Would I have Ohio State beating Florida? Would I have Cincinnati beating Florida again? We know that they matched up well with Gonzaga. Kansas is another team that kind of doesn’t have any bigs. They just have guards. Kansas might be a 1 seed, but Florida matches up really well with them. You could very easily have Florida beating them. We know Florida took Duke down to the wire, and Duke’s probably the hottest team in college basketball right now.
There’s all these games that are like if you saw Florida matching up with them in an Elite Eight or a Sweet Sixteen or the Final Four or a National Championship, to have Florida beating them wouldn’t be out of the question, because they have beat some of these teams. They also match up really well. But then, at the same time, you see some of these teams, like if Florida matched up with Middle Tennessee, that would scare me a little bit. Houston, that might scare me a little bit.
Andrew: And it’s not because they’re great teams. It’s because it’s Houston. They would go into that game thinking they were going to win by 50.
Eric: Right. I mean, that’s what makes filling out brackets fun. It’s what is going to make filling out brackets stressful for Gators fans. Hey, that’s kind of fun. That’s fun when you know you have the potential to go deep, even if it might scare you a little bit as to who could upset them. There’s some times where you end up playing basketball games in the NCAA Tournament, or you see them in a bracket, and you’re just like, there’s just no conceivable way that you can win. You just look at it, and you just can see that you wouldn’t have the talent, and it would take a miracle.
It’s kind of fun to look at a Florida team that you know, with the way that they’ve defended of late, with the way they can hit shots, that there’s a lot of matchups that they could easily win, and it wouldn’t be a crazy upset. If Florida goes into Xavier and beats them, it might be a seeding upset in terms of seed, but it wouldn’t actually shock anyone. That’s a lot of fun.
Andrew: Let’s talk real quick, we got a few more minutes to go, and we want to get into this FBI thing a little bit more. Nick, I want to bring you in and talk about this as well. Will Muschamp brought this up. We don’t like to talk about Will Muschamp, but Will Muschamp brought this up, and it was pretty interesting when he talked about it. He said football players aren’t offered Adidas deals, Under Armour deals, Nike deals. Basketball players are, because it’s shoes. It’s that kind of stuff. Then he also made another point. He said in football you may be recruiting 300 guys. In basketball you may be recruiting 20 guys. Eric, that makes a lot of sense to me in that, but I don’t know. I guess it’s just a situation of I don’t know how you fix it. I don’t. I think it’s a problem we’ve all known about, and it’s just now coming to light.
Eric: I think one of the differences too is obviously college football is a lot bigger business than college basketball. I think that there’s a lot closer eyes on college football than there have been on college basketball, which have allowed people, coaches, to operate in the dark a little bit. Then, obviously, the fact that you get one impact player on your team in college basketball it can totally change you, whereas you get one star tackle in football, if that’s all you’ve got that’s still not going to take you very far. You can see the incentive for a team who really wants to land that star basketball player.
Nick: Look at Lamar Jackson two years ago at Louisville. They’re a more fun and exciting team. He wins the Heisman, but they’re not challenging to win a National Championship. You get a player who’s going to win Player of the Year in college basketball, and you put him on almost any team in the country, and you’re going to be competing.
Eric: Yeah. He wasn’t named, but just for an example, if you can get a Trey Young on your basketball team, you’re instantly relevant. Colin Sexton was a guy named in the FBI scandal. He made Alabama instantly relevant. You can do that in college basketball.
Andrew, in terms of fixing it, I would be fine with saying that players could go right from high school to the NBA draft. That’s an NBA thing. That’s not anything that college is going to be able to change.
Andrew: Does that fix it?
Nick: I thought the NBA and NCAA worked together to institute that one year deal.
Eric: They did, but to me, when you’re dealing with the NCAA and the NBA, it’s really the NBA’s doing. It’s a rule that definitely favors the NCAA, but it also favors the NBA. I feel like in the end the NBA is doing what’s best for the NBA.
Nick: It got to a point where there were more guys declaring out of high school than draft eligible spots in the NBA. You still had guys coming out, and then the college game was suffering. I think it was the NBA saying we’ll help you out by instituting this rule. It will make your game better, and then also we don’t have to worry about drafting. Sometimes a kid graduates from high school and he’s 17 years old, not even 18 yet. We don’t have to worry about drafting a 17 year old kid and giving him all this money to realize three, four years down the line that was a waste.
Eric: Totally. The other thing, Andrew, you were saying does that fix it? No, it doesn’t. You’re right. Because the other thing to look at it is you look at the first guy that was named, Bowen at Louisville. Over $100,000. Bowen is a guy that if he was able to declare out of high school I don’t think he would have been drafted. He’s a great player. He’s a top 20 recruit, but he’s not a guy that would go and be drafted right away. He wasn’t LeBron James. That’s what I think is so crazy. He was the first guy named, six figures to his name that he was allegedly given. I don’t know where they’re at in proving that. He wasn’t Lonzo Ball. He wasn’t Kevin Durant. He was a top 20 guy. That was just what was crazy to see.
You look at a lot of these names in the report. Nas Little, a guy that we’ve talked about on this podcast, is a guy that Florida got out of the way of his recruiting, and then he ended up being dirty. Nas Little is not a guy that would be drafted if he declared right out of high school. You’re right, Andrew, because there’s money for guys that aren’t like lottery NBA picks. Teams are willing to pay. It wouldn’t change it.
A thing I like, I would be okay with players being able to profit off their likeness. If someone in Tuscaloosa wants to pay Colin Sexton $5,000 to put his face on a steakhouse billboard to say come eat here, I would say that’s okay. It also gets out of the way of the NCAA, or these programs, having to pay players, because that’s what I think just gets messy, in terms are like are you just going to pay the football and basketball players? What about the female athletes in basketball, are they going to get paid? It gets into all that. I just feel like if a player could have his own representation, make money off his own likeness, I think that would be maybe a little bit of an easier way than getting around do these programs pay players.
Nick: Title IX kind of touches everything. Not kind of. Title IX touches everything that happens in college sports. You look at why doesn’t UF, for instance, a men’s lacrosse team? They have a women’s lacrosse team. If you add a men’s lacrosse team, you have to add two more women’s sports. What’s the price of that? If you’re playing football players, then you’re going to have to pay women’s basketball players and women’s swimming and diving. They don’t make money. They’re not bringing money into the university. They’re a non-revenue sport. That’s Title IX. If you pay the guys, you have to pay the women as well.
I think maybe a situation like you just brought up, Eric, where we’re opening it up to anyone can do it. You can go out and find your own agent or your own representative, and then whatever deals you can get that’s what you can make. It’s going to be different. A Tim Tebow is going to make a lot more than Nick de la Torre was playing college baseball.
Andrew: It is what it is. I feel like we talk about this every year, every time that a football program is busted for paying players. Same old thing.
Nick: Let’s not act like this is only a basketball thing.
Andrew: Oh, no. That’s what I’m saying.
Nick: I saw on the message board, it was right after Jay Bilas started tweeting this is not just a basketball thing. He started posting links to football. This is not only happening in college basketball. This is happening in football as well.
Andrew: Exactly. Nick, tell everybody where they can find us. We’ll get out. We’ll see everyone on Friday. Nick and I will be doing our baseball and softball preview for the week. Next week we’ll be talking about a Kentucky game and an SEC Tournament.
Eric: Andrew, can I just jump in with one more thing, before Nick closes us out? I feel like there’s a lot of people that are just so scared about the concept of players being able to be paid for their likeness. The only thing, the last thing I want to say, is if it were to happen, it’s not really going to change the sport. Who gets the top recruits right now? Duke, Kentucky, Kansas. If people can start making money of their likeness, who’s going to keep getting the top players? Duke, Kentucky, Kansas. I don’t think it’s going to drastically change the way the sport looks. I just think, if it’s something that maybe someone listening thinks that would really change and ruin college basketball, I don’t think it will. That’s just my last note.
Andrew: I agree.
Eric: Sorry to interrupt, Nick. You go.
Andrew: I agree with you. Go ahead, Nick. Tell everybody where they can find us.
Nick: www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. The podcast is there in audio and transcript form. You can find us on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe. It’ll push the podcast right to you whenever it comes out. Never miss an episode. Follow us, @GatorCountry on Facebook and Twitter, @TheGatorCountry on Instagram. I’m @NickdelaTorreGC. He’s @AndrewSpiveyGC. Eric, @EFawcett7 on Twitter.
Andrew: There you go. Guys, we appreciate it so much. We’ll see you guys on Friday. Eric, don’t jinx anyone this weekend.
Eric: You bet. I’ll talk to you guys next week.