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By LARRY VAUGHT
While Kentucky fans and recruits are already thinking 2014 national championship, Florida players probably think they could still beat UK in the Southeastern Conference.
Center Patric Young announced Monday he would stay at Florida for his senior season, something he had been saying he would do, and that gives the Gators a chance to be a very good team again after making the Elite Eight the last three years.
Young averaged 10.1 points and 6.3 rebounds last season. The Gators Kenny Boynton, Erik Murphy and Mike Rosario — the team’s top three scorers — to graduation but return forwards Will Yeguete and Casey Prather, and guards Scottie Wilbekin and Michael Frazier II. They also get two big men eligible in transfers Dorian Finney-Smith of Virginia Tech and Damontre Harris of South Carolina.
And the Gators have two McDonald’s All-Americans of their own — point guard Kasey Hill (UK commit Dakari Johnson’s high school teammate) and Chris Walker (the McDonald’s All-American Game slam dunk winner who at one time wanted to come to UK). Both Hill and Walker are very good players and should give the Gators a solid nine-man rotation.
The Gators will have the SEC’s best defensive guard in Wilbekin, a proven big man in Young, two McDonald’s All-Americans, two experienced transfers and three more regulars off an Elite Eight team.
Is that enought to make Florida a national title contender — or even a threat to UK in the SEC?