GAINESVILLE -- New Florida coach Michael White is already facing his first test less than a week on the job.
Former coach Billy Donovan signed a talented and deep recruiting class, but two of the Gators’ four signees are reportedly seeking other options following Donovan’s departure.
Forward Noah Dickerson -- UF’s highest-rated commit -- has been released from his LOI, according to ESPN.com and other media outlets.
Dickerson, a 6-8 forward from Montverde Academy, is ranked No. 51 overall in the country. Meanwhile, explosive shooting guard KaVaughn Allen (North Little Rock, Ark.) is also reportedly seeking his release.
White met with Allen last weekend, and said the nation’s 54th ranked player continues to weigh his options. Still, White won’t obstruct any signee wanting to play elsewhere.
“I don't think we've had any final answers yet,” White said Monday.
“I’m not into begging. … But they wanted to play for Coach Donovan. I understand them having second thoughts. I understand that. I appreciate it. I accept it. And if those guys want to be here, I'd love to have them. If not, we'd love to help them find the right place for them.”
White did receive some good new late Wednesday evening though, as athletic forward Keith Stone tweeted he would be honoring his LOI with Florida.
Big man Kevarrius Hayes (No. 68 in ESPN Top 100) also remains committed to UF, giving White 10 scholarship players for next season. He could add to the roster before the year, and he’s confident he can restock the program with other quality players.
“I think this place to a certain extent sells itself,” he said.
“At the University of Florida we can recruit nationally. I think you can get involved with kids in all 50 states, and I think that in the past that this basketball program has proven that. But I also understand how important it is to recruit our state, especially a state that's as fertile as it is.
"I've always enjoyed recruiting this state. Not only because I liked traveling to Florida, but because there are really good players here. And we're not going to get them all, but we're going to recruit them all.”
GATORS TO HOST MOUNTAINEERS
Florida will square off against West Virginia in Gainesville on Jan. 30 as part of the SEC-BIG 12 Challenge, the conferences announced Thursday.
The Gators played a home-and-home series with Kansas the last two seasons, but the Mountaineers pose a similar non-conference challenge next season.
Bob Huggins’ team went 25-10 last year, getting trounced by Kentucky in the Sweet 16.
In years past, the SEC-BIG 12 matchups were held during the heart of football season in November and early December, so the games were moved to later in the schedule in order to boost visibility and interest.
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