Billy Donovan on the hunt in New England


Billy Donovan and his staff at Florida have already assembled a top-25 recruiting class and arguably one of the top incoming backcourts in the Class of 2012 with Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, N.C./United Faith Christian Cademy), Michael Frazier (Tampa, Fla./Montverde Academy) and Dillon Graham (Orlando, Fla./First Academy).

With all three players having signed their letters of intent in November, Donovan and his staff have been fixated on adding frontcourt talent for several months and appear to be in good shape with a number of the nation’s best remaining interior talents including Anthony Bennett (Brampton, Ontario/Findlay College Prep), who reportedly has the Gators near the top of his list.

Donovan spent Wednesday looking at two of his other top targets in the frontcourt, both of whom star for New Hampshire prep schools.

His day began at 2:30 p.m. ET at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H., where Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton) and the Tilton School were on display. Noel, the newly crowned No. 1 player in the ESPNU 100, finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists to lead the Rams to a 67-55 road win.

After the game, Donovan traveled to Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., for its 6 p.m. game against Lee Academy. This time his target was Jakarr Sampson (Akron, Ohio/Brewster), who didn't disappoint, amassing 23 points and nine rebounds in a 115-69 win to help the Bobcats improve to 22-0 on the season.

Last weekend, Sampson refuted Internet reports that he had cut his list to Kansas and Providence, saying that Baylor, Florida, Louisville and St. John’s were all still in the hunt.

As for Noel, he said last week that Florida was one of seven schools he was considering. Syracuse, Kentucky, North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgetown and Providence are also in the running.

Donovan knows a thing or two about landing top talent from New England prep schools, having recruited starting power forward Erik Murphy out of St. Mark’s School in Massachusetts.