You won’t have to travel far to catch some of the best basketball players in the country next season. The incoming haul of 2013 basketball prospects is teeming with talent.
It’s hard to recall a year that had more potential superstars then the group of freshmen that will take to the courts of college basketball next season. Lucky for you and me, a ton of them will be coming to Gainesville.
In fact, according to ESPN rankings, Florida will share the court with 13 of the top 16 and 23 of the top 50 freshmen in the country next season. Mind you, two of those top sixteen will be wearing Orange and Blue. Feel free to take a second to wipe some sweat from your forehead.
The Gator basketball team should be a top ten mainstay next season with a ton of experienced talent on the roster being joined by a couple stellar transfers and freshmen Kasey Hill and Chris Walker.
Florida will undoubtedly face one of the toughest schedules in the country next season, with already confirmed games against Kansas, Wisconsin, Florida State, UConn and Memphis. With Florida planning a 50 million dollar makeover to the O’Dome in the coming years, it appears the Gators are stacking the home schedule to draw fans to the stands. Well, you won’t hear me complaining about that anytime soon.
Although the SEC schedule has yet to be released, match ups against Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri, Tennessee South Carolina and Vanderbilt will all feature the opposition boasting at least one top 100 player from the class of 2013. The SEC has been the butt of basketball jokes in recent years, but a wealth of talent is headed to the league next season. With a packed schedule, there will be no discussion of whether Billy’s kids have faced off against top talent come March Madness.
A list of the top recruits you can see next year during Gator basketball games. The number in parentheses corresponds with the player’s overall ranking in the class of 2013 according to ESPN.com.
Florida (2): Kasey Hill (10), Chris Walker (12)
Kentucky (6): Julius Randle (3), Andrew Harrison (5), Dakari Johnson (7), James Young (8), Aaron Harrison (9), Marcus Lee (25)
Kansas (5): Andrew Wiggins (1), Joel Embiid (6), Wayne Selden (14), Conner Frankamp (46), Brannen Greene (47)
Memphis (4): Austin Nichols (15), Kuran Iverson (33), Nick King (37), Rashawn Powell (95)
LSU (3): Jarrel Martin (11), Jordan Mickey (38), Tim Quarterman (80)
Alabama(2): Jimmie Taylor (69), Shannon Hale (100)
Arkansas (2): Bobby Portis (16), Moses Kingsley (43)
Missouri (2): Johnathan Williams III (55), Wes Clark (79)
Florida State (1): Xavier Rathan-Mayes (44)
South Carolina (1): Sindarius Thornwell (41)
Tennessee (1): Robert Hubbs (29)
UConn (1): Kentan Facey (98)
Vanderbilt (1): Damian Jones (81)
Wisconsin (1): Nigel Hayes (83)
I’d say that’s a list that speaks for itself. Andrew Wiggins, the top ranked player in the country, is far and away the cream of the crop. Wiggins is a prized recruit who is regarded by many to be the best player out of high school since Lebron James. Also in the class of 2013, a pair of freakishly talented twins heading to Kentucky headlines a jaw-dropping six of the top 25 players in the country headed to Big Blue Nation. Michigan may have had the Fab-Five so what do we call that group? The Stellar-Six? I’ll leave that to the talking heads. A personal favorite of mine lost in the shuffle is Kuran Iverson of Memphis, cousin of former NBA superstar Allen Iverson. Iverson, a childhood favorite of mine growing up, was an pompous scoring-machine for the Philadelphia 76’ers .
Now It should be noted that rankings don’t always pan out and there are still several very talented players currently in college basketball, just ask Billy Donovan. Basketball season may still sit a couple months away but if the top caliber Gator talent wasn’t enough for you to tune in, the storm of gifted players sure is.
2013-2014 Florida Gators Basketball Schedule announced so far…
Nov. 8: North Florida
Nov. 12: at Wisconsin
Nov. 16: Arkansas Little-Rock
Nov. 18: Southern
Nov. 21: Middle Tennessee State
Nov. 25: at Jacksonville
Nov. 29: Florida State
Dec. 2: at Connecticut
Dec. 10: Kansas
Dec. 17: vs. Memphis (Jimmy V Classic in New York)
Dec. 21: TBD in Orange Bowl Classic at Sunrise, Fla.
Dec. 29: Savannah State
Jan. 4: Richmond
Schedule courtesy of Gatorzone.com