Florida's coach is out of the country, one of its best returning players is suspended, and one of its star newcomers is in academic limbo. And yet the Gators are still on fire on the recruiting trail, with CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello reporting that five-star 2014 shooting guard Brandone Francis has committed to Florida.
Five-star guard Brandone Francis has committed to Florida, per sources.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 27, 2013
Francis, from Jacksonville's Arlington Country Day school, is a tall, well-built shooting guard, listed at 6'5" and 200 pounds according to 247Sports. 247Sports lists Francis as its No. 21 prospect in the 2014 class, Rivals has Francis as No. 25 in 2014, and ESPN slots him at No. 34. He also plays for the Florida Elite AAU program, and his spring and summer play with that team is the basis for much of this recent mixtape.
Many had predicted Francis committing to Florida, including all 14 analysts who made picks for 247Sports' Crystal Ball, but one fear was that Francis would eventually turn his interest to Louisville, whose hiring of former Florida International assistant Mike Balado gave the Cardinals significant Sunshine State ties, and a bilingual recruiter with strong Latin America connections. Francis, who is Dominican, spoke highly of Louisville once he did get his offer, but the Cardinals filled what could have been his spot on Wednesday, when Jaquan Lyle committed to Louisville.
With Lyle, Quentin Snider, and Shaqquan Aaron all committed to Rick Pitino's program, and none standing over 6'8", the Cards likely didn't have room to take another guard, even one as good as Francis, which opened the door for Francis to seal the deal with the Gators.
Billy Donovan's out of the country, and coaching the United States' U19 team at the FIBA World Championships in Prague (the U.S. thumped the Ivory Coast in Preliminary Round play on Thursday), but he'll certainly be happy to have Francis in the fold. Between Francis and fellow guard Chris Chiozza, Florida has two commits in the class of 2014, both from top-50 guards, and the foundation for a backcourt to be reckoned with for years to come in the SEC.