Calathes, Parsons Lead Team Florida Comeback

ORLANDO — For three quarters, this was a Murphy’s Law game for Nike Team Florida in the AAU National Basketball Tournament at the Disney complex. It seemed they couldn’t shoot, couldn’t rebound and couldn’t defend and nothing they were doing could contain Delvon Roe, who was carving them up on the inside while leading All-Ohio to what seemed to be a very comfortable 10-point lead.

In the team huddle before they took the floor for the fourth quarter, Nick Calathes, a University of Florida commitment, and Chandler Parsons, who may have sealed his bid for a Florida scholarship offer, called a gut check of their teammates.

“We were NOT going to lose this game,” said Calathes, the 6-6 guard from nearby Lake Howell.

“We told them we’ve been playing together way too long to go out like this,” said Parsons, the 6-9 forward who is Calathes’ teammate at Lake Howell. “We just told them whatever it takes we’ve got to do it because we’re not going out with a loss, not tonight.”

Team Florida trailed 60-50 going into the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 17 points in the third quarter. It was 64-52 a minute into the fourth quarter but that’s when the comeback began to take shape behind the sharpshooting of Calathes and Parsons. Calathes knocked down three straight three-pointers and Parsons hit one as Team Florida pulled even, then took a five-point lead.

Missed opportunities at the foul line let All-Ohio back in it as Team Florida missed four of five free throws in the final minute, but Lance Kearse hit the first of two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining to give Team Florida it’s hard-earned, 74-73 win.

Calathes and Parsons, who combined to hit their final seven three-pointers, had 29 and 25 points respectively to lead Team Florida. Calathes finished 10-16 overall from the field, 5-8 on two-pointers and 5-8 on three-balls. He also had three rebounds, five assists and three steals. Parsons went 6-9 on two-pointers and 5-7 on three-pointers to go with 10 rebounds.

Team Florida was hampered throughout the first half by serious foul trouble. Kearse, playing center for Team Florida in the absence of 7-1 Solomon Alibi (with the Nigerian national 19-and-under team) and 6-11 Joseph Kautuka (out with an injury), picked up two early fouls in the first quarter and sat all but four minutes. Though only 6-6, Kearse had the leaping ability to hang with the taller Ohio front line but when he sat, Ohio cleaned up on the inside. Rowe, who is one of the top-rated prospects for the recruiting class of 2008, scored 21 of his game-high 34 points in the first half largely due to the absence of Kearse.

In addition to Kearse’s foul problems, Parsons had to sit for six full minutes in the first half with three fouls. When the game ended, Parsons, Kearse and Calathes were all playing with four fouls.

With the win, Team Florida moves into the quarter-finals at 4 p.m. against Hampton, Virginia’s Boo Williams Summer League. Patrick Patterson blocked two shots in the final minute of the game to preserve a 56-53 win for Boo Williams over Maryland Madness, coached by former NBA great Buck Williams.

Patterson, who is being heavily recruited by Florida, Kentucky and North Carolina, had eight points, 12 rebounds, four blocked shots and two steals. Earlier in the day, he had 12 points and 12 rebounds to help Boo Williams to an 81-68 win over Charlotte (NC) Royals.

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Parsons, who has been on an offensive tear in the past several weeks on the AAU circuit, may have sealed his bid to earn a scholarship offer from the Florida Gators. With Coach Billy Donovan watching, Parsons lit up the Jackson (MS) Tigers for 40 points in the afternoon game.

Parsons went 14-17 on two-point shots and 2-4 on three-pointers in Team Florida’s 91-75 win over the Tigers. He sat for a long stretch in the fourth quarter when Team Florida had a 32-point lead.

In that game Calathes had 21 points, 13 assists 7 rebounds and three steals.

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Florida commitment Alex Tyus came off the bench to record a pair of double-doubles Sunday for D-1 Greyhounds of Cincinnati, whose main attraction is O.J. Mayo, considered by some to be the top prospect in the recruiting class of 2007.

Tyus scored 22 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots in D-1’s 85-77 win over Old Gold Dream Team of Chicago. In the night cap against Georgia Blazers, Tyus scored 22 points and snatched down 10 rebounds to lead D-1 to a 49-46 win.

In the first game, Tyus got most of the points on his own. His teammates only passed the ball to him on the inside three times the entire game but he still founds ways to score. He was 11-13 from the field in the first game with six dunks.

In game two, he was 8-9 from the field with four dunks.

The two victories advanced D-1 into the quarter-finals against NC Gators out of Wilmington, North Carolina.

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.