Just hours before a trio of former Florida Gators learn if they will have the opportunity to continue their playing careers in the NBA, head coach Billy Donovan added a key piece to his 2014 recruiting class, receiving a verbal commitment from four-star combo guard Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, FL).
Francis, whose pledge was first reported by CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello, called Donovan earlier in the day before the coach led USA Basketball to an 88-29 preliminary-round victory over the Ivory Coast in the 2013 FIBA World Championship.
“That’s my dream school and I think it’s a perfect fit for me,” Francis told SNY.tv‘s Adam Zagoria. “I think I have a great chance to go up there and be a pro. I think they can make me a pro. That’s a great fit for me as a guard. They use a lot of pick and roll with their system and with Coach Donovan’s help they can take me to the next level.”
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard from the Dominican Republic can also run the point and is one of the hottest names in the recruiting circuit at this time. In fact, Francis was not listed on the preliminary Rivals150 for 2014 but checked in as the No. 25 player in the country when the latest version of the rankings came out Thursday afternoon.
One reason Francis has been under the radar is because he broke his wrist prior to summer of 2012 and was unable to participate in AAU games. His high basketball IQ, superior size and strength, terrific mid-range game, and ability to play all three perimeter positions make him a highly-regarded prospect.
He may be a five-star recruit by the time the final 2014 rankings are released.
Francis impressed during the NBPA Top 100 camp in mid-June, an event where future Gators teammate and fellow four-star 2014 PG Chris Chiozza (Memphis, TN) also shined. Chiozza moved up 51 spots from No. 90 to No. 39 in the new Rivals150.
Francis is listed as a four-star player and the No. 34 prospect in the country by ESPN. Chiozza also checks in at No. 39 on the ESPN 100.
If he does wind up signing a National Letter of Intent with Florida next year, Francis would continue the trend of Donovan working with the sons of former players. His father, Bobby Francis, played at Boston College and still lives in Boston, MA.
Francis’s offer list included big names like Illinois, Indiana, Louisville and Oklahoma State. He also had offers from Miami and Florida State and was being monitored closely by Kansas and UConn, among others.
With the Gators set to lose rising senior Scottie Wilbekin and potentially incoming five-star freshman Kasey Hill at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, Donovan has done a nice job already getting his future backcourt in place. Florida can now concentrate on adding ot the frontcourt going forward.