The Florida Gators officially announced Wednesday that two of the top high school basketball players in the country – five-stars point guard Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL) and power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL) – have signed and submitted their National Letters of Intent to play for Florida beginning in the 2013-14 season.
Hill and Walker, each ranked in the top-10 nationally by all of the major recruiting services, are a huge 1-2 punch for the Gators as they look to replace at least three players who are set to leave following the 2012-13 campaign. The players are close friends and have been AAU teammates over the last few years.
“How they rank to the rest of the country, doesn’t really matter to me because there are so many things they bring to the table,” head coach Billy Donovan told Florida’s website. “Being in-state guys, I’ve had a chance to watch them grow over a three-year period and I understand what we’ll be getting. They’re athletic, with speed and quickness and competiveness. They both have a chance to have tremendous careers here.”
Walker is the first big man the Gators have signed out of high school since Florida added a trio of players, including center Patric Young, as part of its 2010 class.
“The best frontcourt players to come through here — the Horfords, Haslems, Bonners, Noahs — they could all really run,” assistant coach Matt McCall said. “And Chris Walker can really run.”
Donovan, a former point guard, is equally excited at what Hill (a former teammate of freshman guard Michael Frazier II at Montverde Academy) brings to the table as the highest-rated floor general signed by the Gators since Anthony Roberson in 2002.
“He’s just a presence on the floor. Great vision,” he said of Hill.
Most exciting for Florida fans is that Donovan and his staff are not done just yet. Though the Gators will not add another player as part of the early signing period, Florida is in the running for a trio of uncommitted five-star players including forward Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL), PF Julius Randle (Plano, TX) and C Dakari Johnson (Montverde, FL). The second National Signing Day is set for April 17, 2013.