Florida Basketball: Can Florida End Up with the Best 2013 Recruiting Class?

Jon HancockSenior Analyst IOctober 6, 2012

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 18:  Head coach Billy Donovan of the Florida Gators reacts as he coaches in the first half against the Norfolk State Spartans during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 18, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Florida head coach Billy Donovan has been hitting the recruiting trail hard over the past year to put together a strong class for 2013. Donovan has a chance to have the top class in the country if things go his way in the next couple of months.

The Gators currently have the second-best recruiting class in the country for 2013 according to ESPN.com with five-star recruits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker.

Hill, a 6'0" point guard from Eustis, Florida, is considered the second-best point guard and the eighth-best player in the 2013 class according to ESPN.com.

Walker is a 6'9"power forward from Bonifay, Florida, is considered the sixth-best player in the 2013 class by Rivals.com.

The Gators have a chance of putting together their strongest class ever, at least since Donovan has been there, if they are able to nab either of the two most coveted players in the 2013 class.

Jabari Parker, a 6'8" wing from Simeon Career Academy in Illinois, is ranked the best player in the 2013 class according to ESPN.com. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.3 blocks last year as a junior.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com said of Parker:

Incredibly polished and mature, Parker has an outstanding skill-level for a player his age. His shooting mechanics are excellent, complete with terrific footwork and deep range. He can make shots with his feet set, but is also extremely dangerous pulling up off the dribble, being capable of getting clean looks off fairly easily thanks to his size, smarts, and ability to create separation smoothly from his defender.

On Friday he released his final list of five colleges that he is considering. Parker is down to BYU, Stanford, Duke, Michigan State and Florida per Reggie Rankin of ESPN.com.

Billy Donovan visited Parker at Simeon earlier this week, and Parker is planning on taking an official visit to Florida November 2-4.

Most believe Parker is leaning towards Michigan State or Duke, but the fact that Parker is planning a visit is a good sign for the Gators.

Julius Randle, a 6'9" power forward from Plano, Texas, is planning a visit to Florida over the weekend. He also has Florida on his final list of six colleges. His list also includes North Carolina State, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Randle is considered the best player in the 2013 class by 247Sports.Com. Last year he scored 21.1 points per game at Prestonwood Christian High School.

ESPN said of Randle, "The left-hander is a pro in the making. He loves to catch on the blocks or extended, face and weigh his options."

Donovan coached Randle over the summer in the 2012 Men’s FIBA Americas U18 Championship. That time gave Randle a great chance to bond with the Florida head coach.

Randle's high school coach, Chris Mayberry, told Kevin Brockway of GatorSports.com, “I don’t know if the interest level (in Florida) would be there had Julius not played for Coach Donovan. I think he saw that Billy cared about him as a person as much as a basketball player.”

The chance that Florida picks up either of these prospects is slim, but coach Donovan is an excellent recruiter and should never be counted out.

Florida will also have Kasey Hill and Chris Walker on campus this weekend, as well as 2014 recruit Dakari Johnson and top 2015 recruit Karl Towns.