Florida Gators announce 2012 basketball signees

By Adam Silverstein
December 5, 2011

The Florida Gators officially announced Monday that three high school basketball players – four-star guards Michael Frazier (Tampa, FL) and Braxton Ogbueze (Charlotte, NC) as well as three-star guard Dillon Graham (Orlando, FL) – have signed and submitted their National Letters of Intent to play for Florida next season.

“I’m excited about the guys that we’ve signed,” head coach Billy Donovan said before Monday’s team practice. “With losing Erving [Walker] being a senior, Braxton Ogbueze is a kid that’s as good as any point guard out there. We felt like we got a really good player with him. Frazier is a phenomenal three-point shooter and a guy that we’ve kept an eye on for a long, long time. Dillon Graham is another really talented perimeter player who has got the brains to shoot it, put it on the floor.

“We feel like we’ve addressed some needs. Obviously there’s a lot of kids that we’re still recruiting that haven’t signed yet that we’re still involved with, but I’m happy with the guys that have signed. I feel like they’re all going to be very good players for us.”

Though the Gators are in desperate need of young big men, Florida will likely have to replace at least two guards. Walker will have used up his collegiate eligibility and freshman G Bradley Beal could head to the NBA as he is already projected to be a lottery pick. Sophomore center Patric Young is another candidate to leave early, but he stated prior to his freshman season that he intended to stay in college for a few years.

The Gators were able to announce these additions to the program because the NCAA’s early signing period for basketball took place Nov. 9-16. The regular signing period is April 11-May 16, giving Florida approximately four months to recruit a frontcourt player if the team has enough space on its roster.

Donovan hopes to find one to add to the class and appeared to agree with the notion that frontcourt players should look at the Gators as a team with a great history of preparing forwards and centers for professional careers.

“Clearly we’ve had a lot of success with frontcourt players and certainly there’s a lot of them in the NBA that are doing very well. For a lot of guys, they can go to a lot of places. There are a lot of great programs out there, a lot of great coaches out there,” he said.

“It’s a lot more than just there’s NBA guys there at Florida. There is a lot that goes into a decision for a family. I try to trust and respect the fact that the decision has been made for them; whether they come here or go somewhere else is a part of a process. Unfortunately with this you’re told ‘no’ a lot more than you’re told ‘yes.’”

9 Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Where’s the beef! Lack of size and depth at center is why we lost the two games versus top tier teams!!!

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    I was under the impression that Beal planned to stay for a few years as well, all the things he said in interviews made it sound like he wasn’t going to be one and done.

  3. Mark says:

    More guards. Yes!

    Just what we need.

  4. Ryan says:

    We definetly need bigs but if we can get Young to hang around and Murphy keeps progressing, we will be ok. I think Murphy has serious potential.

  5. MG says:

    Where’s Dwayne Schintzius when you need him

  6. Tim says:

    23 Bradley Beal G 6′ 3″ 207 Fr. HS St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade Prep
    1 Kenny Boynton G 6′ 2″ 189 Jr. 2L Pompano Beach, Fla./American Heritage
    34 Cody Larson F/C 6′ 9″ 231 RSFr. SQ Sioux Falls, S.D./Roosevelt
    33 Erik Murphy F/C 6′ 10″ 230 Jr. 2L South Kingstown, R.I./St. Mark’s (Mass.)
    35 Walter Pitchford V F 6′ 10″ 221 Fr. HS Grand Rapids, Mich./Summit Christian Academy
    24 Casey Prather G/F 6′ 6″ 212 So. 1L Jackson, Tenn./North Side
    3 Mike Rosario G 6′ 3″ 191 RSJr. TR Jersey City, N.J./Rutgers
    11 Erving Walker G 5′ 8″ 177 Sr. 3L Brooklyn, N.Y./Christ the King
    5 Scottie Wilbekin G 6′ 2″ 178 So. 1L Gainesville, Fla./The Rock
    15 Will Yeguete F 6′ 7″ 222 So. 1L Bourdeaux, France/Florida Air Academy
    4 Patric Young F/C 6′ 9″ 247 So. 1L Jacksonville, Fla./Providence (H.S.)

    • Tim says:

      2 Jr Guards, 1 Sr Guard, and 1 potential 1 and done (I haven’t seen anything to make me think he can leave early yet though). That’s 4 of 5 guards potentially gone in 2 years.

      On the other hand you have 6 guys 6′ 6″ and taller (6′ 9″ and taller) with only 1 being a Jr and 1 being a potential 2 and done. That’s 2 of 6 Forwards or Centers potentially gone in 2 years.

      We’re playing a guard heavy team because that’s where our skill and experience is right now. I guess I don’t understand the negative reaction.

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