NCB On The Trail: Florida Gators

ESPN 100 PF Noah Dickerson has committed to the Florida Gators over finalists LSU, Washington, Georgia Tech and Georgetown, where he was previously committed.

Let's take a look at what the No. 65 overall player in the class of 2015 will bring to Gainesville, Florida.

Malik Newman’s name has been at the top of the charts since his freshman year in high school. Let’s take a look at what makes him special on the court and who is recruiting him the hardest.

What position is Newman?


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Minneapolis Nike EYBL recap 

May, 25, 2014
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The fourth session of the Nike EYBL gave teams one more opportunity to add league wins and earn the right to participate in the Peach Jam that will crown a champion in July.

Check out some of the many terrific prospect performances we witnessed this weekend at the EYBL:


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Class of 2014's best passers 

May, 5, 2014
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Members of the Class of 2014 have (mostly) made their decisions. Which incoming freshmen should you get to know? Here is a look at the best passers -- and one name to know in 2015:

1. Tyus Jones, Duke
He is the consummate point guard. His passes are always away from the defense and he has that snap on the ball that you just can’t coach. On the fast break, he will come to complete stop and let the trailer fill the lanes and make a precise pass for a layup or 3-point shot. In tight quarters he can penetrate and pitch effectively by making a soft pass or a bounce pass and he demonstrates the outstanding vision, poise and patience to be a great set-up man. Some players pass to get rid of the ball, but when Jones passes, it usually leads to an assist.


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With Myles Turner's commitment to Texas serving as an unofficial close to the 2014 recruiting class, it’s time to focus on the 2015 crop.

Here are 10 questions that the recruiting world will seek to answer in the next year:

1. Will it be one and done?


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Five-star shooting guard KeVaughn Allen has ended his recruiting and committed to Florida over Arkansas, Baylor, Connecticut, Memphis, Mississippi State, Louisville and others, giving coach Billy Donovan the No. 27 overall player in the 2015 ESPN 60.


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Remember, playing time is earned!

Because the Gators are losing PG Scottie Wilbekin and SF Casey Prather after a tremendous season, there is room for Brandone Francis.

He will come in and see some significant minutes as a freshman due to his scoring skills and strong frame. Francis has the unique ability to play the small forward and shooting guard, as well as the point guard spot in a pinch.

His season was up and down this year, but he looked good at the Nike Hoop Summit event last week. He really needs to work on his outside shooting as it will complement his drive game.

I see him playing early. The question will be can be hold on to his minutes.

Recruit and return: Florida 

April, 5, 2014
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In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Florida and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Kasey Hill
G: Michael Frazier II
F: Dorian Finney-Smith
F: Devin Robinson
C: Chris Walker


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Roundtable: Identifying 2014's sleepers 

March, 4, 2014
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As the 2014 class winds down its final season of high school basketball, the ESPN 100 has been analyzed in virtually every way possible. We’ve broken down the top prospects, picked out the best fits, projected both the immediate impact players, and even forecast those who are likely to show the most improvement over their college careers.

But now we are giving each member of the RecruitingNation team one last chance to go on record with a prospect they believe in, a sleeper they expect to be better than most are projecting, whether it's right away or over time.

Here’s a look at who the experts have their eyes on:


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Freshmen might be the talk of college basketball this season, but if you are paying attention you are starting to notice that experience counts.

The new No. 1 team in the country, Florida, starts a quartet of seniors in Casey Prather, Scottie Wilbekin, Patric Young and Will Yeguete.

The leading candidate for this year’s Wooden Award as college basketball’s best player is also a senior, as Creighton’s Doug McDermott is averaging 26 points and almoist 7 rebounds while shooting high percentages from the 3-point line, free-throw line and the field.

So while Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and Tyler Ennis could all bolt for the NBA -- only to be replaced by the likes of Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner, Cliff Alexander, Tyus Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay -- it might actually be others from the 2014 class, who might not necessarily have the same level of instant success, but nonetheless go on to make their mark on college basketball by staying longer and getting better at each step along the way.

Here’s a look at some of the most likely candidates:


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Roundtable: Must-get prospects for 2015 

February, 25, 2014
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With the vast majority of the top prospects in the ESPN 100 now off the board, the focus of the recruiting world is now rapidly shifting to the 2015 class where programs from all levels of college basketball are looking to position themselves for a successful recruiting cycle.

Some are already ahead of the curve. LSU landed a huge early score in Ben Simmons (Melbourne, Australia/Montverde Academy), Arizona has its next big-time guard in Tyler Dorsey (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco) and Syracuse has a pair of ESPN 60 products in Malachi Richardson (Hamilton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) and Tyler Lydon (Pine Plains, N.Y./New Hampton).

Memphis, Michigan State, Marquette, and Illinois have early commitments from ESPN 60 products as well, while the Fighting Illini are joined by Connecticut, Washington, Villanova, New Mexico, Rutgers, and Mississippi State in already having two verbal commitments.

With the 2015 dominoes beginning to align, we asked our team of Recruiting Nation experts to pinpoint which programs have already established their top priority, or “must-have recruit,” in the coming year.


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Breakdown: 5 with the most potential 

December, 16, 2013
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The high school basketball season is in full swing and some of the nation’s best are playing well and leading their teams. Others are extremely productive and having great individual performances.

There's also a small group of players who are good now with a chance of big-time growth.

As top-ranked players, they have talent. It's what they do with it that will determine their ultimate success. To reach their potential, it’s a matter of two important questions. Does the prospect have the necessary tools to perform at a high level? And will he do what is necessary from an effort standpoint to be great?

Let's take a look at players who are playing at a high level now and who have plenty of potential to be even better down the road.

ESPN No. 2 Myles Turner
The Texas native has a combination of size and skill, and he's a shot blocker with mobility. Turner was one block shy of a triple double, as he had 29 points, 15 rebounds and nine blocks last week against Homeschool Christian.


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Florida adds flexibility 

December, 11, 2013
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It’s as easy as 1,2,3 because that’s what Florida coach Billy Donovan has put together in the nation’s No. 11 class -- a trio of prospects who play point guard, shooting guard and small forward. This group brings a unique blend of positional players who certainly are not married to one position. They are extremely strong on the perimeter and demonstrate interchange parts in their performances.


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1. Kentucky
Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress make up the most powerful frontcourt in the game. They can score, block shots and rebound with anyone.

2. Arizona
Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski, Aaron Gordon.
This threesome is strong, long and explosive, and they use those gifts on both ends of the floor.

3. Syracuse
C.J. Fair, Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman, Baye Keita.
This bunch has both length and girth while protecting the basket and finishing inside.

4. Florida
Patric Young, transfer Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech) and Will Yeguete.
If Freshman Chris Walker becomes eligible in December this group could do serious damage together. They are extremely productive and could be dominant on the inside if Walker is playing.

Player of the Year
Marcus Smart. Nothing seems to faze this All-American. When you easily could have walked away from the college game and you come back, that means you are extremely confident in your ability. He has put up terrific numbers across the board, dominated the action at times and makes his team win -- that's what a POY does.

Florida announces signing class

November, 21, 2013
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Florida coach Billy Donovan announced his 2014-15 recruiting class on Thursday as the early signing period came to an end.

Signing with the Gators were three ESPN 100 prospects: SG Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day), SF Devin Robinson (Chesterfield, Va./Christchurch) and PG Chris Chiozza (Memphis/White Station). Donovan also will welcome SG Zach Hodskins (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) as a preferred walk-on.

"We are really excited about these guys and their future at the University of Florida," Donovan said. "They all have tremendous potential, and we're glad they're Gators."

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