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Jai Lucas Is Your Newest Hoopster

So we finally have news on a certain basketball recruit the Gators were after.  Following weeks and weeks of a "will he or won't he" scenario, Jai Lucas, the talented PG recruit out of Texas, will be signing on to play for the University of Florida -- a move that may bring even better news in a few days (but that's a totally different story).

ESPN.com had this quote from Lucas today:

"I'm going to Florida because I felt it was the right place for me," Lucas told ESPN.com. "I just felt that they had lost a lot and I can come in and play right away. They've got a great group of guys coming in with this class. I can help them at the point."

Lucas told ESPN.com Sunday night that he would try to convince (Patrick) Patterson to join him.


There's a reason why Billy Donovan was regarded as one of the top coaches in the country early on in Gainesville:  He could recruit with the best of them.  The UF basketball program has seen some of it's best players on the O-Dome floor during the Donovan era, including the likes of Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Al Horford and so on.

And that recruiting talent of Donovan's was a necessity this offseason -- especially with the loss of the top six players from last year's squad, including two backcourt players, opening up several minutes to spread around.  Incoming talent was a must, and Donovan has brought in a top-ten recruiting class, one that could only get better if the Gators can lure in Patrick Patterson as well. Which, as we've all heard, is something that Lucas is working on at the moment:

"Jai just told the people here [at the press conference] he's going to be on the phone and he'll be all over Patrick Patterson," said John Lucas. "If Florida gets Patrick to go with Jai and the guys they've already got signed ... and those guys like Walter Hodge and [Marreese] Speights ... they're going to be really good. They might not be great early because they're young and they'll have to learn to play with each other, but by February, they could be a really great team. They're about as talented a team as you're going to find."

I personally felt that next season was going to be exciting, no matter what the circumstances. Young, uproven teams are easy to root for, and the expectations will not be nearly as strong as the '06-'07 season saw.  The addition of a guy like Lucas (and hopefully Patterson) is only going to make it a more fun and exciting campaign for our Gators next hoops season.

We're all going to miss the '04s, no question about that.  But this has got to be one of the more highly regarded groups of incoming talent that we've had in Gainesville for quite a while.  I'm positive that this comes close to that magical Miller, Haslem and Dupay class -- and we may be waiting on the best signee yet.

The only question is: When does Billy the Kid sign an extension to stay at the University of Florida? It has to come soon, correct?

It's great to be a Florida Gator.

Go Gators!