Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Shooting Guard Commits to Donovan's Gators

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Top Shooting Guard Commits to Donovan's Gators

Article excerpt

Billy Donovan has said his top priority in rebuilding the

University of Florida basketball program is winning recruiting

battles in the state of Florida.

After yesterday's events, there's little doubt which state

school has made the biggest impact.

LaDarius Halton of New Smyrna Beach High School, considered one

of the top 10 shooting guards in the nation, orally committed to

Florida, giving the Gators commitments from the top four rising

seniors in the state.

"He's [Donovan] a great young coach," said Halton, who chose

Florida over Kentucky and Georgetown. "He's energetic, upbeat .

. . he'll get out on the court with you. I'm really excited."

Halton (6 feet 4) averaged 32.5 points per game last season,

even though a broken finger forced him to miss 19 games. His

commitment continues the recruiting success of Donovan in his 15

months in Gainesville, and gives UF one of the nation's best

classes for the 1998-99 season.

All four rising seniors say they will sign with UF in the

November early signing period. The other three are point guard

Teddy Dupay (5-10) of Cape Coral Mariner, and 6-9 power forwards

Udonis Haslem and Sylbrin Robinson of Miami Senior.

Dupay is listed by recruiting analyst Van Coleman as the

second-best point guard in the nation, and Robinson and Haslem

were named by Recruiting USA as two of the top 10 power forwards

in the nation.

"They're all great guys off the court," Halton said. "I've

played with the great players around the nation, and some of

them aren't great guys. These guys are all down-to-earth guys."

Under NCAA rules, Donovan cannot comment on potential recruits

until they sign a national letter-of-intent. Donovan, though,

may not be done recruiting.

Florida also is still on the list of 6-7 forward Vincent

Yarbrough of Cleveland, Tenn., who is generally considered one

of the nation's top five players. Yarbrough, whose brother Del

Baker signed with Tennessee, is considering Kentucky, North

Carolina, Tennessee, Duke, Clemson, Maryland, Georgia Tech and

Florida. …

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