From a hotbed for basketball recruiting, Chris Chiozza says that going public with the decision felt great and helped take a load off of his shoulders.
“It felt good to just go ahead and let everyone know where I was playing,” Chiozza said. “I had great support from friends, family, and teammate. I was the first one from my school to do it, so I was a little nervous, but it went well.”
Gator assistant John Pelphrey was the point man on Chiozza’s recruitment and was ecstatic when Chiozza called to give him and head coach Billy Donovan the news.
“I called them last Friday,” he said. “I told Coach Pelphrey I was ready to be a Gator. Then I talked to Coach Donovan. They were definitely excited. They felt like they just got the best point guard in the nation and were happy to finally get someone out of Memphis and they told me that I was a perfect fit for everything.”
“I chose Florida because I really have a good relationship with Coach Pelphrey and Coach Donovan. They also have a great history of using guards and them doing well.
“Pelphrey was huge in my recruitment. He was the first coach to contact me at Florida. He would use different ways to contact me every day and we built a great relationship. It helped a lot with the decision because I was comfortable with him and talked to him like a friend.”
Donovan also spelled it out for him. The Gators winningest coach in school history specializes in developing back court players and that was a big point of interest for Chiozza.
“He told me about how he doesn’t work as much with the big men, and more so with the guards,” Chiozza said. “He is always around the guards at practice and I am looking forward to that.”
As for his game, he said the staff never relayed to him who he plays the game like, but he says most people compare his game to star Missouri point guard Phil Pressey.
“The thing I have heard from most people is Phil Pressey,” he said. “It is about the size and the playing style. We are both fast and can do on the floor what we want to.”
Chiozza says he’s excited about the roster he is about to be a part of.
“The talent they have is a big part of it,” he said. “Knowing I can come in with another elite guard or two, depending on who is there. Their big guys are big and also athletic. The way they play as athletes makes it a lot easier doing the fast pace and getting up and down the floor.”
Chiozza is also known as one of the more likable players on the AAU tour and in high school basketball in general. He runs in high circles with some elite players and says he is ready to tackle the job of trying to bring some of those others into the fold as well. He mentioned three big time power forwards.
“Definitely,” he replied when asked if he was planning on helping recruit others to play at Florida with him. “I am trying to get two or three of my old teammates if they want to come. Leron Black and Riley Norris, I am also pretty good friends with Kevon Looney.”
This is the type of player that gravitates to Chiozza because of his playing style, of which he has a message for Gator fans.
“They should be ready for the show I am going to try and put on,” he said.