The Florida Gators added another big name to their already-impressive 2015 recruiting class on Monday night when three-star forward Keith Stone (Deerfield Beach, FL) verbally committed to play college basketball in Gainesville.
Ranked No. 127 overall by Rivals, Stone (6-foot-7, 215 pounds) took his first official visit to Florida over the weekend.
A long-time Gators lean, seeing the program in person and getting the go-ahead from the staff was all it took for him to commit to head coach Billy Donovan. Stone announced his commitment Monday via his Twitter account.
Going back to the Montverde Academy pipeline for the third time in the last four recruiting cycles, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan landed a big verbal commitment on Sunday when four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL) announced his intention to join the program next season.
At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, Dickerson is rated as the No. 56 overall player in the Class of 2015 by Rivals. A one-time Georgetown commitment, he changed his mind in June and reopened his recruitment, listening to pitches from a number of schools including Florida.
In the end, Dickerson decided to play for Donovan and the Gators.
Set to enroll an extremely talented 2014 recruiting class, Florida Gators basketball is also off to a hot start for the 2015 recruiting cycle after receiving a commitment from four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, Arkansas).
Allen chose Florida primarily over Arkansas though he also had heavy interest from Baylor, Memphis and Nebraska, according to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello, who first reported the commitment.
At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Allen needs to build strength over the next year in order to deal with the physicality of college basketball. He also needs to drastically improve his ball handling and jump shot.
However, Allen is considered a talented scorer with impressive slashing ability and athleticism who should be a positive contributor for the Gators if he remains committed. He averaged 21.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.7 steals as a junior who this season led North Little Rock High School to its second of back-to-back state titles.
“He’s led us in scoring both years and he is the most complete, most coachable, most consistent kid that I’ve ever been around,” North Little Rock head coach Johnny Rice told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Chris Hays of Allen. “He’s the same every single day. He’s never had a bad day in practice, or has something bother him or anything like that. To be such an elite player, it’s unbelievable how coachable he is. He wants to be coached. He wants to get better. He’s really just a dream for any coach to be around.”
The 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas, Allen is ranked No. 82 overall by Rivals and 27th nationally by ESPN, which lists him as a five-star prospect.
Allen joins three-star power forward Kevarrius Hayes (Live Oak, Florida), a June 2013 commitment ranked No. 117 overall by Rivals, in UF’s growing 2015 class.
Florida Gators basketball picked up its first verbal commitment for the Class of 2016 on Saturday when power forward John Mooney (Altamonte Springs, FL) pledged to continue his career in Gainesville, FL.
At 6’7” and 210 pounds (as of July), Mooney is a sophomore in high school and likely still has some growing to do before he steps foot on campus in three years.
He averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman at Lake Brantley High School and was just the third freshman in the last nine years to play on varsity, according to head coach Mike Cuff.
Mooney also plays for the Nike Team Florida travel program, which had former Gators Chandler Parsons and Nick Calathes on its roster while they were in high school.
His brother, Brendan Mooney, committed to Spring Hill College to play basketball as a member of the school’s 2013 recruiting class.
Mooney was recruited by Florida assistant Matt McCall and committed to the Gators following an unofficial visit. UF hopes he continues to grow and projects that he will resemble David Lee by the time he gets to college.
Florida now has basketball pledges in each of the next three recruiting cycles. Four-stars guard Brandone Francis (Jacksonville, FL) and point guard Chris Chiozza (Memphis, TN) are committed for 2014, while three-star power forward Kevarrius Hayes (Live Oak, FL) has decided to join the team in 2015.
Huge congratulations to 2016 NTF Forward Johnny Mooney @jmoon32 on his commitment to Billy Donovan & the Florida Gators! NTFamily!
“We came down to Gainesville together last week for a visit and he loved it,” Hayes’s high school coach and University of Florida alumnus, Jeremy Ulmer, told InsidetheGators.com‘s Russ Wood ($). “Florida was his dream school and he told me he was ready. I called Billy Donovan and told him that Kevarrius had something to tell him, then I handed him the phone.”
Hayes, who recently participated in the Nike Elite 100 basketball camp from June 3-9 in St. Louis, MO, was named Suwannee High School’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2012-13 season. He has drawn comparisons to current Gators PF Will Yeguete for his strong defense and ability to clean up offensively around the basket.
Like Yeguete did as a high schooler, Hayes plays travel-league basketball for head coach Tom Topping and Nike Team Florida. Hayes joins Yeguete, Walter Hodge, Nick Calathes, Chandler Parsons, Scottie Wilbekin and DeVon Walker as recent or current Gators that previously played under Topping.
During his sophomore season at Suwannee, Hayes averaged 11.3 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks per game. Rivals lists him as a three-star prospect (the company’s 2015 rankings have not yet been released), while ESPN currently has him ranked him as a four-star and the No. 58 overall player in the Class of 2015.
Hayes (6-foot-9, 190-pounds) also had early interest from Alabama, Kansas State and Miami. Florida assistant coach Matt McCall, his primary recruiter, helped reel him in.
According to the Suwannee Democrat, he boasts a 3.0 grade point average, served as president of his sophomore class last school year and hopes to attend medical school so he can become a surgeon. He is also a member of the track and field team and currently holds the school record in the high jump.
“Kevarrius has everything it takes to be a major [Division I] player. He has athletic and academic ability, a positive attitude and a great work ethic,” Ulmer told the Democrat on June 12. “He is everything a coach could ask for in a player.”
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