Now picture the program, one with two national championships and a tradition that continues to build and build. Picture a need for a certain skill, a skill that has at times evaded your roster and program. Now imagine filling that need with one of the best out there who just so happens to have always loved your program.
It’s a match made in heaven.
That shooting skill is what it is all about for Dillon Graham and Scout.com / FOX Sports basketball recruiting analyst Evan Daniels has high praise for the newest Gator.
“When you think about Dillon Graham, the first thing you think about is his ability to shoot from long range,” Daniels told FightinGators.com moments after breaking the public commitment from Graham and his coach. “He has a quick trigger.”
Daniels says that Graham’s stock really rose over the summer during the AAU circuit.
“He’s a guy that really proved himself as a knock down shooter in July,” Daniels continued. “We are talking about a guy that went from a mid-level recruit to a guy that with high major scholarship offers in just a couple of events in July. He did all of that with his ability to rip the nets from three.”
Bill Bufton is the head coach at The First Academy in Orlando where Graham is a two-guard and made it to the state championship game a year ago. Bufton loves the character of the newest Gator.
“He is a class kid,” Bufton said. “He really struggled with the decision because he didn’t want to disappoint some of the coaches who he developed a relationship with. It just tells you a lot about a kid like that.”
According to Bufton, Graham brings much more than just shooting to the table as well.
“He’s 6-4 and very, very athletic,” the coach said. “He dunks just about every way. He’s also a great three-point shooter. He can come off screens and create his own shot. He’s actually a very good defender too and a lot of people don’t know that because they always look at the offensive side of the ball.
“Probably the biggest thing about him, is that he is almost too unselfish at times wanting to get his teammates involved in the game. We almost have to tell him to shoot more and you know that is a rarity. He only averaged 15.8 points last year, but he could go to 20 or 25 if he wanted to. He is just that kind of talent.”
Bufton also pointed out what kind of role that they believe Graham can play with the Gators.
“The Gator coaches say that he can be a Lee Humphrey with more athleticism,” Bufton said. “He is a guy that can come off a screen and enter a pass in the post and wait for double team to kick it back out. He’s a guy that can really open up things for the big kids because he can shoot the ball.”
We talked with Graham just last night and he told us that he was going to make his decision public today but asked to keep that part of it quiet so he can inform the coaches of the teams he was not going to sign with. We obliged those wishes and now he is just happy to finally make the calls and be done with it.
“It’s pretty big,” Graham said about getting the ordeal over with. “I made the calls this morning. I called Kansas, Florida State, UCF, and Miami. I just wanted them to know before it hit the Internet.”
The University of Florida is the place his heart sent him, a place that he has always wanted to be a part of.
“It is my dream school since day one, since I was a little kid,” Graham said reiterating what he told us the night before. “My grandpa went there and it is his school and Alma Mater. I love Billy Donovan, he is just a great man.”
He has gotten to know the Gator coaches pretty well.
“I talk to Coach Donovan and Coach Matt McCall a lot as well,” he said. “They have more of a shooter’s offense to where I can come off screens.”
Graham is ready to be a Gator when the time comes and wanted to pass this along to Gators fans.
“I am going to be on stat, and going to try to win games for Florida Gators,” he said. “I am going to be a knock down shooter.”