Florida Gators: Kasey Hill

Florida gets commit from 2014 PG 

May, 14, 2013
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.

Julius Randle played out his recruiting until just about the 11th hour. And when the music finally stopped playing and Randle picked Kentucky on Wednesday, there were three schools left standing with broken hearts. Here’s a look at where those programs go from here.

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Several ESPN 100 recruits to play in NHSI

March, 12, 2013
The field is set for the fifth annual National High School Invitational, and it promises to be the most talented group in the event’s history.

All eight teams in the NHSI field are ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings, and six are in the top 10. The tournament will be held April 4-6 in Bethesda, Md., and televised on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU. Seedings and matchups will be announced at a later date.

[+] EnlargeNigel Williams-Goss
Josh Holmberg/Icon SMIWashington recruit Nigel Williams-Goss and Findlay Prep look to defend their NHSI title.
This year’s NHSI is headlined by the No. 1 team in the nation, Findlay Prep (Nev.). The undefeated Pilots are the reigning NHSI champs and boast a loaded roster that features a quartet of ESPN 100 stars in Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington, No. 20), Allerik Freeman (UCLA, No. 65), Christian Wood (UNLV, No. 74) and Stanford Robinson (Indiana, No. 98).

“It’s going to be difficult [to repeat],” said Findlay head coach Todd Simon. "This appears to be the strongest field yet for the NHSI. The fact that we are 34-0 and have won NHSI three times it makes us a gigantic target. But it’s a nice little challenge.”

Top-15 recruits Kasey Hill (Florida, No. 9) and Dakari Johnson (Kentucky, No. 11) lead No. 2 Montverde Academy (Fla.). The Eagles are still smarting after consecutive losses to Findlay, first in last year’s NHSI title game and again in January on a Williams-Goss buzzer-beater that ended Montverde’s reign at No. 1.

Also in the mix for the coveted NHSI crown are: No. 4 Prime Prep (Texas), led by No. 53 senior Jordan Mickey (LSU) and No. 3 junior Emmanuel Mudiay (undecided); No. 5 St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) and ESPN 100 point guard Tyler Ennis (Syracuse); No. 8 La Lumiere (Ind.) with talented wing Detrick Mostella (Oklahoma State) leading the way; No. 9 Blanche Ely (Fla.), the Florida Class 7A state champ; and perennial top-25 squads No. 19 Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and No. 25 Montrose Christian (Md.).

“To win this event we’d be 37-0, and with the schedule we’ve played it would put us in rare air in high school basketball,” Simon added.

The most important position on the basketball court when it comes to winning games is point guard. They come in all shapes and sizes with different talents, but the one common denominator is that a good point guard is a must in recruiting.

Here is a look at five of the nation’s top point guards in the Class of 2013, what each does better than anyone in the country and what they’ll bring to their college teams next season.

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Hoophall Classic: Players to watch 

January, 18, 2013

The Spalding Hoophall Classic held near the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is annually the nation’s best in-season high school basketball event -- and this year may be its best field ever. Which is saying something considering the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving have played in the showcase.

The elite national matchups will get rolling on Saturday and then really kick into gear on Sunday and Monday, when six games will be televised across ESPN, ESPNU and WatchESPN. In those six TV games alone, 25 players ranked in the ESPN 100 and seven teams ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will be featured, including the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, six of the top 12 recruits in the country and a showdown between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Recruits for Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Indiana, NC State, Georgetown, Washington, Baylor, BYU and more will be on display.

To get you set for all the action, here are the players to watch for each of the 12 teams playing on TV this weekend.

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HS hoops on TV: Players to watch 

January, 4, 2013
The Cancer Research Classic, held this weekend in Wheeling, W.Va., is an up-and-coming event with a tremendous amount of talent from a variety of high school teams across the country. And two of the premier games from the event will be televised live on ESPN networks Saturday night.

No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) will take on No. 12 Chicago Simeon at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. That matchup will be followed by Gonzaga (D.C.) against Salesian (Calif.) at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN.

The two televised games feature a ton of elite talent in the 2013 class, led by No. 2 overall prospect Jabari Parker (Duke), No. 2 point guard Kasey Hill (Florida), No. 1 center Dakari Johnson (uncommitted) and No. 23 overall recruit Jabari Bird (Cal). But there will also be elite underclassmen on display, as well as recruits for Villanova, Illinois and Dayton.

In fact, all four teams feature multiple Division I prospects. So with that in mind, here are 10 players to watch on Saturday night when you tune into ESPN2, ESPNU or WatchESPN.

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City of Palms Classic: What I Learned 

December, 23, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The City of Palms Classic is the best pre-Christmas high school basketball event in the country. And just imagine if top-10 senior Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) hadn’t been injured and elite junior Joel Berry (Orlando/Lake Highland) hadn’t hurt his knee? How many events could lose two stars and still stand tall?

Unfortunately, the theme of this season continues to be injuries. Regardless, they played the games and there were still plenty of elite-level stars who stood out. This year’s event was capped Saturday night when No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.), led by No. 1 senior center Dakari Johnson and No. 2 senior point guard Kasey Hill, defeated No. 4 Lone Peak (Utah) and its band of BYU-bound stars in the championship game.

Over the course of three and a half days in Florida, I was able to find the answer to some questions I had.

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Best of the City of Palms Day 3 

December, 21, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As the days go by here at the City of Palms Classic, the intensity level picks up as teams vie for a spot in Saturday’s championship game while hoping to avoid being sent to the consolation bracket.

Without a doubt, the game of the day on Thursday started at 11 p.m. and featured a pair of ESPN 25 teams in No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) and ninth-ranked Whitney Young (Chicago). Montverde needed overtime but held on for a 68-65 victory.

Let's take a look at some of the best performances from Day 3 on Thursday.

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Donovan signs elite 2013 class for UF 

November, 14, 2012
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Signing two of the best players in the state has given Florida coach Billy Donovan one of the best recruiting classes in the nation.

And it could get even better.

The Gators signed PG Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy) and PF Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) on Wednesday. ESPN.com rates them as the top two players in the state of Florida, and they rank No. 9 and No. 10, respectively, in the ESPN 100. ESPN also ranks the 6-foot Hill the nation’s No. 2 point guard and the 6-10 Walker the nation’s No. 4 power forward.

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Thanks to a pair of top 10 ESPN 100 prospects, Florida's Billy Donovan has already put together one of the top recruiting classes in the country.

With local products and AAU teammates Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy) and Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) already on board, the Gators have one of the best point guards and power forwards in the country heading to Gainesville next year.

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Schuyler Rimmer no longer headed to UF 

September, 17, 2012
ESPN.com has confirmed that power forward Schuyler Rimmer (Orlando, Fla./Boone) is no longer committed to Florida.

Rimmer was expected to walk on in Gainesville and then receive a scholarship as a sophomore. Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Stanford and South Carolina are schools after the three-star player.

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ESPN 100 point guard breakdown 

August, 13, 2012
Most coaches would say point guard is the most important position on the floor when it comes to determining the success of a college program. But finding the right player to fill that spot is often a daunting task, since point guard and center are typically the two positions that provide the most limited number of quality prospects in any given year.

Fortunately for recruiters, the 2013 ESPN 100 offers more point guards (25) than any class since 2007. However, even an unusually high supply hasn’t come close to matching the demand. In fact, 14 of those 25 point guards have already committed, as the smartest coaching staffs always are quick to lock in their future floor general at the earliest opportunity.

Top prospects



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Parker and then the debate begins in 2013 

August, 8, 2012
The prevailing storyline in the senior class rests among the first half-dozen elite members of the group. When ESPN convened its scouts to discuss the 100 elite seniors in the country, the most difficult task we faced was settling on an order for the first half-dozen prospects.

The list begins, as it has since last summer, with No. 1 Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon). He owns three state championships, two gold medals and the respect of his peers. However, his summer was incomplete; he returned from Lithuania with USA Basketball only to shut himself down due to injury. With the top slot heading into the fall intact, Parker need only check his rearview mirror to size up his competition.

The next two spots on the list belong to a point guard and a power forward from Texas. Andrew Harrison (Richmond, Texas/Travis) is a 6-foot-5 point guard, and one of the biggest, most athletic and talented guards you'll come across at the high school level. The only person to slow down his movements during the summer was Parker, who guarded him at NBPA Top 100 Camp and did so better than any other guard we saw.

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2013 PF Rimmer commits to Gators

August, 5, 2012
Florida head coach Billy Donovan continues to put together a top class for the 2013 recruiting cycle. Schuyler Rimmer (Orlando, Fla./Boone) strengthened the incoming haul by pledging to the Gators program on Sunday.

[+] EnlargeSchuyler Rimmer
Dave TelepThree-star power forward Schuyler Rimmer is the No. 8 player in the state of Florida.
"I am really excited about that," he said. "It has been my dream to go there and play basketball. I was given that opportunity and it wasn't something I could pass up."

Rimmer's commitment along with those of five-star prospects Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy) and Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) has Donovan excited, too.

"He was excited that I chose them and he said he sees a bright future for me," Rimmer said. "He really thinks I can develop into a good college player. At this point, I am just looking forward to getting up there and getting started."

The strength of the Gators' class was something that drew Rimmer to Gainesville instead of shying away from it. He sees a situation where he can get better by going against top talent on his own team.

"Playing against top-10 prospects like Chris Walker and Kasey Hill is another thing," Rimmer said. "Everyday in practice, Chris Walker, or Patrick Young if he decides to play, whoever it is, there is going to be someone that is going to be really good. It is in the SEC and that will help my growth and develop into the best player I can be."

Gators make a statement with Walker 

July, 22, 2012
Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes County) has been a major focus in the recruiting efforts by many of the nation’s top college basketball programs. His commitment to Florida is big news for Billy Donovan and his staff. With AAU teammate and point guard Kasey Hill (Eustis, Fla./Montverde Academy) already on board, Florida now has two top-10 talents who are capable of being impact players as freshman.

Walker is a skilled, 6-foot-10 combo-forward who is a scoring threat inside and out. His face-up ability is a perfect fit for Donovan’s system as the Gators have had a lot of success causing matchup problems for opponents utilizing post players with perimeter skills. He will need to put on some weight and get stronger to handle the physical demands of the college level, but there will be few 6-10 freshmen arriving on any campus next season who can match Walker’s combination of size, skill and athleticism.

Donovan has always been considered one of the top recruiting head coaches in the game. He has had success recruiting on the national level, showing that the Gators could compete for the best players regardless of where they lived. Gaining commitments from two in-state prospects of Walker and Hill’s stature was a major priority. It is a talent haul that will keep the Gators on par with Kentucky in terms of attracting elite players within the SEC.

Walker, as many prospects do, guaranteed a national championship when he made his announcement to commit with the Gators. With the dynamic duo of Hill and Walker in the fold, along with transfers Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris, Florida now has the talent level to make good on Walker’s promise. Fans of the Gators have good reason to be excited about the future of basketball in Gainesville.

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McElwain discusses new Florida football
SEC Network's Greg McElory and Booger McFarland sit down to discuss the future of Florida football with head coach Jim McElwain.