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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Florida gets commit from 2014 PG

By Dave Telep

Prior to the spring, junior Chris Chiozza (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) was mentioned as a fringe Top 100 player. Following a series of standout performances, Chiozza’s stock soared. On Tuesday, he accepted an offer from the Florida Gators to follow the point guard lineage in Gainesville.

Ohio State and Memphis provided the most competition for the 2014 defensive guard with a passing bend. Chiozza averaged 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds as a junior.

Florida, which scouted Chiozza extensively in April, offered, and the guard didn’t mull it over too long before calling his recruitment off.

“Florida was always one of the schools I loved to go to,” Chiozza said. “When they offered I figured I had to jump on with their style and their head coach. They put so many players in the league.”

The plan for Chiozza depends on what transpires with freshman-to-be Kasey Hill. Should Hill explode and play well enough to be a one-and-doner in Gainesville (he’s likely to be at least a two-year player), and then Chiozza and Hill could play in tandem. If Hill should head to the draft, there won’t be a dramatic drop-off with Chiozza. Florida’s got all angles covered.

Chiozza can score too. He’s 5-foot-10 but a tough customer. He’ll latch himself onto bigger guards and hound them around the court. Give him enough space and he’ll click off his jumper. He’s also creative off the bounce. To be his size, one has to be tough, and this kid is fearless.

Until Chiozza announced that he was ready to commit last week, few could have predicted his recruitment would move so swiftly. After all, Chiozza was more mid-major than high-major coming into the season.

“The last three weeks, a lot of the high-majors offered him,” Team Thad coach Norton Hurd said. “I told him it would happen. Chris once thought he was a mid-major player but I always told him to keep believing.

“Just a week ago, Chris was going to take five visits. Then it just hit him. It’s not the popular thing for an AAU coach to have his kids commit early. But, with where his heart was at, I was behind him.”

Billy Donovan loves his guards and the Gators have been proactive in recent classes, making sure the program is stocked with talent at the position. Last week, freshman Braxton Ogbueze transferred. While that didn’t affect their recruitment of Chiozza, the Gators certainly wanted to address the backcourt in the 2014 class.