The City of Jacksonville has been very kind to the Florida Gators this week. On the heels of a commitment from 6-foot-4 shooting guard David Huertas (No. 60) of Arlington Country Day, comes another commitment from city.
On Friday evening, 6-foot-2 Derwin Kitchen of Raines High School picked the Florida Gators over Wake Forest. Kitchen is ranked No. 57 in the Class of 2005.
Interestingly enough, Kitchen committed to Florida shortly before he drilled a 3-pointer that would help his Lee Bulls capture the 19-and-under junior men's national championship.
"He wanted to get it over with," Lee Bulls coach David Jones said. "He really like Wake Forest but Florida just came on so strong at the end. With that being so close he had a chance to go up there a few times, talk with Coach Donovan and make several unofficial visits. He wanted to be fair to Coach Prosser and Coach Battle [at Wake Forest]."
Kitchen recently attended a camp on Florida's campus and must have impressed the coaching staff in a big way because the Gators in turn turned up the heat on him big time.
"He's a winner. If you back and look at everything he's done: he's won. With the program that they have and bringing Huertas in, he's going to excel. He's a shooter and passer all in one."
At Raines, Kitchen captured two state championships in three seasons. His AAU team has won state five of six years.
"We're in the games basically because of him," Jones said. "We were down by 8 points today in an earlier game with both big men fouled out and Derwin hit a 3 and we came back and won."
Derwin said he talked to Coach Donovan earlier in the day but hadn't had a chance to talk to him after his game this evening.
"I told him earlier: Coach Im ready to be a Florida Gator." When asked what kind of skills he will bring to the Gators, Derwin said: "I am just going to do what I can do. I like getting everybody involved."
So what drew Derwin to the University of Florida? "I built a great relationship with Coach Donovan and a bunch of the assistants. It was also important that the school is only 1 hour and 30 minutes away. I visited the school probably 10 times."
Did he really know anyone on the team? "Yeah, I know Taurean Green pretty well."
Derwin was obviously excited and very hospitable to us. This is a great get for the University of Florida basketball team -- Derwin's a great kid that can pass the rock and shoot, too. Gators. He joins fellow Jacksonville star David Huertas in a class that is really starting to shape for Coach Donovan and the Gators.