If you are looking for our Current Florida Gators Basketball page, check out 2011 Florida Gators Basketball.
The Florida Gators basketball team opens its 2008-9 season in an unfamiliar position, looking up at the Tennessee Vols not only in the SEC Conference, but also in the SEC Eastern Division. This follows a season which would be considered strong by the standards of most teams (24-12, 8-8 SEC) but which is considered to be somewhat mediocre by the standards of this team which has experienced such success in recent years.
The returning class is highlighted by the team's leading scorer who is entering his sophomore season, Nick Calathes. Calathes looks to build upon his very strong rookie season in which he averaged 15.3 ppg, 6.1 apg, and 5.2 rpg. Calathes is joined by a number of other players all of whom have shown the ability to score, including Walter Hodge, Jr. (10.4 ppg), Jai Lucas (8.5 ppg), Dan Werner (9.1 ppg), and Chandler Parsons (8.1 ppg).
Billy Donovan also has a solid class of recruits joining the team for the 2008-9 campaign. This class, chock full of 4 and 5 star recruits, is headlined by center Kenny Kadji. While he will undoubtedly experience his share of growing pains, the Gators are hoping can immediately step in and be a force in the middle, potentially replacing some of the rebounding that is being lost in the departure of Speights.
The Florida Gators are still very young, and are probably a year away from being a legitimate threat to return to the NCAA Championship Game. However, if Donovan is able to compensate for the loss of Speights inside, if Calathes develops into the player of the year candidate many feel he can, and if the role players of 2007-8 can step up and become more consistent contributors, this team has every chance to dethrone defending SEC champion Tennessee and make a reasonably deep NCAA Tournament run.
If you haven't read it yet, check out our Billy Donovan Biography. You can read more about last year's Florida basketball team at 2007-2008 Florida Basketball Team and 2009-2010 Florida Gators Basketball page.
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