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Pine Crest coach on Kentucky commitment Brandon Knight: 'I hope he is happy.'

GAINESVILLE -- Patrick Patterson. John Wall. Eric Bledsoe. Brandon Knight: Anyone see a pattern here?

They were all elite recruits. They all considered going to Florida. They all chose Kentucky. OK, Wall probably didn't even consider UF, but you get the point. Kentucky has dominated Florida both on the recruiting trail and the court for the last three years. Bottom line: There is a perception that Kentucky has more to offer the game's best players.

Knight of Fort Lauderdale is the most recent super recruit to choose UK over UF. He announced his decision on Wednesday. This latest example of Kentucky's recruiting superiority especially hurts for UF fans because Knight is a homegrown player and two-time Gatorade national player of the year.

"On my trip to Kentucky, I couldn't believe the amount of support the players got from fans," Knight said on Wednesday. "People were shouting my name."

Florida has a respectable basketball following but it's nothing compared to Kentucky. In Kentucky, the fans are crazy about their basketball the way Florida fans are crazy about their football. Only, Kentucky basketball might have a bigger following. Let's not be naive here, though. Fan support is not why Knight chose Kentucky over Florida.

Here's an interesting quote from Knight's high school coach that might shed a little light on Knight's decision.

"I hope he is happy," Fort Lauderdale coach David Beckerman said on Wednesday. "I'm sure this decision that was made between him and his parents is one that will make him achieve the goals and objectives that he is looking to meet."

I hope he is happy. That's an interesting thing for a high school coach to say on the day his star basketball player committed to Kentucky. It implies, obviously, that Knight might not be happy. To fully understand the quote, you must fully understand the man who said it. Pine Crest's Beckerman is a man who coaches high school basketball for two reasons: One, he truly loves the game and, two, he wants to make a difference in young people's lives. It's what makes him happy. He does it for free and literally travels thousands of miles to do it. Beckerman founded Starter Sportswear. He's a semi-retired snowbird who lives half the year Guilford, Conn.

The sentiment among those who covered Knight for several years is that Wednesday's choice to play for Kentucky was made for reasons other than the Wildcats' rabid fan base. Exposure, creating the Brandon Knight brand, getting ready for the NBA, making money: Those are the reasons. Nothing wrong them, of course.

Here's another interesting quote from Beckerman, taken from the New Haven (Conn.) Register in December: "There's a lot of things involved [in Knight's recruitment]. Someone says, 'Do you want to be John Wall's replacement?' Another one says, 'Is Kemba Walker going to be back?' And this one says, 'What will the team you're going to play with be like? Are you going to be playing with enough good players to get you in the national spotlight at the Final Four?'"

We reported last summer that Knight wasn't coming to Florida. At the time, we reported that his handlers didn't want him following Kenny Boynton Jr. to Gainesville. To be frank, those in the know said that Knight's father didn't want his son having to share the spotlight with Boynton. Never mind that a Knight-Boynton backcourt combo would have been the quickest way for both players to reach the Final Four.

Knight will now be playing against Boynton, his old buddy from AAU, but Knight will be playing against more than that at Kentucky. He'll be playing against UK's memory of John Wall. Good luck.



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Get over it Goodman he doesn't want anything to do with Gator nation. Dry your tears and on.

Bledsoe was not an elite 5 star recruit like all the others but he certainly did play like it once he got there.

If Knight does not have Wall's immediate talent, the situation at UK may be worse for him than UF anyway but foward vision is not a strength for an 18 year old.

Face it fans,UF students and fans are riding Urbans sack and Tebow still and he doesnt even play anymore.
The football team stole the town from Billy. lol

the spotlight in Gainesville isnt big enough for anyone besides Urban and the football team.
Kentucky should be looked into for declaring the one player to the NBA before the player did. they let brandon know right away this is your team


The Florida basketball team will be very good next year with or without Knight.

Jo -

You neglected to mention the coaching angle in the decision making process. HUGE difference between Callipari & Eddie Munster on prepping a kid for the bigs....HUGE.

If you say so. I'm going to assume you're being sarcastic.


You neglected to mention the coaching angle in the decision making process. HUGE difference between Callipari & Eddie Munster on prepping a kid for the bigs....HUGE.

Yeah there aren't no Gators in the NBA. There are only former Kentucky players. Your ignorance speaks for itself.

Huge difference between Callipari and Donovan is that the talent that Callipari has had to more talent to work with. The more talented the players the easier it is to get to the NBA. It's not Callipari's preparation moron.
Yeah all those one and dones owe their NBA careers to their one year spent with Callipari.

Cane Clowns prove time and again that they are morons. They have very little understanding of sports. You guys are flat out stupid.

weren't there 2 or 3 gators on the NBA All star team?

ease up on the uf haters...
perception is reality, even if you are stoned or dim whitted

First, let's start by correcting the errors in the opening paragraph. UK has hardly been dominating UF on the recruiting trail or on the floor for the last 3 years.

In 2008, UF's recruiting class was ranked #2, while UK's was #19. In 2009, UK had the #1 class, while UF's was #20. In 2010, UK will again have a better class; but UF's is currently ranked #10 with only 2 commitments.

Now to the floor results: UK did win the 2 games this season. But last year, the teams split the games; and in 2008, they split the 2 games also. Prior to that, UF had won 6 straight.

So, if that's the kind of "dominance" Joey is referring to, he's right; but that doesn't sound much like dominance to me.

But UK has always had more to offer kids; at least the kind of kids we see these days, who don't care about their education or growing up to be responsible adults. UK doesn't have a football program; so naturally, all the focus is on basketball.

The kind of kids Cal gets won't be at college more than a year anyway; so it's not really important to him or them they develop the relationships and enjoy the myriad benefits that come with being a college student.

Does anybody really think Cal cares that the vast majority of his players will one day be flat broke and unemployable? He doesn't even coach kids up to be great players... he merely takes the ones that have a shot to go pro with or without him. If they eventually flame out like most do, oh well, that's no longer his problem.

uk is a quality program
neither gillespie or calapari are uk quality,
they check the eddie sutton box...
cal will win though until he either gets bored or puts the program on probation

I should have just written recruiting dominance. Until this year, both programs pretty much stunk it up on the court for the last three years.


Get off the high horse G8R8U2. You need to spend more time figuring out why 24 Gator football players have been arrested in the past 4 years (as of 2009).

The UF hate warms my heart. I for one, did not want Billy D. in Lexington. His back-to-back run was fortuitous at best. The players from those teams are "6" man players in the NBA. And the NBA right now is WEAK.

Don't hate the playas - hate the game. Coach Cal is the right man for the UK job and I hope he retires in Lexington. Hate all you want, but the UK program and Calipari is a great marriage.

Sounds like the "savior" Coach Beckerman is the one who is not happy. It isn't about you, coach. Go Cats!

Florida simply isn't ever going to be able to compete with true basketball programs such as Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, North Carolina ,etc. With the football program at such an elite level, the b-ball program will always take a back seat - and top recruits don't like sitting in the back seat. It is difficult to win a NC with "one-and-dones", unless you have a few of them and even then UK couldn't get it done this year with a few of them.

Granted UF's recruiting classes have been ranked high, but if we had to re-rank them after the fact, several of their recent classes would be well outside the top 25 (i.e., 4 and 5-star busts!)

Oh and btw - yes, you did want Brandon Knight - even for one year - you just didn't get him - sans the sarcastic story! The Gators day in the sun has come and gone. Get used to it. The next time an NBA team comes for Billy D (if they ever do again) I would recommend he "jump".

Jazzy, it would shock no one (except you, I guess) if UF thumped UK next season.


uf will be a very good experienced team next year...knight is no john wall

as great as you guys talk up UNC, didn't they just start the same glide path UF did 2 years prior?

The players from those teams are "6" man players in the NBA. And the NBA right now is WEAK.

JazzyJim-Another moron. Al Horford starts for a talented Hawk team. Noah starts for a playoff team. Brewer starts for his team. Richards has been haning around on the Bulls roster.

Let me know when Callipari goes back to back. First let me know when he wins his first championship.

Kentucky will go on probation before winning a championship.Count on it.

Jo -

What's your take on a supposed Gator fan who goes by the name "Donna Shalala"? Forget the gender issue (he prefers drag), but he sure seems to be in the closet on more things than that. Counselors would likely draw connections to a deep seated infatuation or envy of a team that has dominated him, no doubt.

Come on fellow Canes Uf put out Udonis and he plays in Miami. Also had some clutch playoff baskets

Response to: G8R8U2

You have a decent post up until about half way through.

You say "But UK has always had more to offer kids; at least the kind of kids we see these days, who don't care about their education or growing up to be responsible adults."

Dude, have you gone and hid under a rock? Everyone of the top 4 or 5 kids UK has going pro has so far said they are finishing the semester. John Wall has one of the highest GPAs on the entire team. Brandon Knight has never made a B grade in his life. Get some facts before you post ludicrous statements which are are obviously made with no research behind them.

So just be glad your type of recruits (the Dan Werner's of the world will be in Gainesville 4 years while you average 18-21 wins per year). You will truely understand what domination is in about 5 years.

Donovan is a very good coach. The truth of the matter is when you combine Kentucky with a truely great coach everybody else in the SEC plays for second place.

Of course not in football, you are right there, but you just might be looking up at the Crimson Tide more than you like in the next 5 to 10 years.

I get a kick out of the writer. Just like all media they try to make something out of nothing to show their frustrations. Taking his coaches statement and twisting it to make the readers think something crazy is retarded. Knight did what was best for him. Florida is not what is best for elite players. Florida cant even fill that lil gym. it took a lot of UK fans to come and finally fill it up last yr. Probably the first sellout in yrs courtesy of UK fans. Nobody really wants to go to a school were you only have about 300 fans and their most retired people smelling like ben-gay

It's no secret that Beckerman didn't like Calipari. But, then again, name a coach who does?


It's no secret that Beckerman didn't like Calipari. But, then again, name a coach who does?

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/gator_clause/2010/04/pine-crest-coach-on-kentucky-commitment-brandon-knight-i-hope-he-is-happy.html#ixzz0lDtzUgkR

Rick Barnes, Tom Crean, Tony Barbee, Bruiser Flint, just to name a few.

"...UK has always had more to offer kids; at least the kind of kids we see these days, who don't care about their education or growing up to be responsible adults."

That is pathetic! Show some intellectual curiosity of your own and do some actual research on the subject. Does UF really see different "kinds" of kids in basketball or football than UK? Do you know for a fact that Cal recruits kids who can't succeed in the classroom? Do you believe that Knight's grades were made up? How about John Wall attending class and getting a solid gpa and finishing the semester even though he does not have any real incentive to do so? Does that make him a less than responsible (i'm assuming that is what you mean by your reference to responsible adults and the kind of kids)?

It is very sad that you and others like you can't stick to slamming the coach if you must (although there really is no reason to even do that if you do some real research into the guy) and leave the kids out of it. This is especially true when the last time I looked Billy and Cal have and continue to go after many of the same kids. I guess that means Billy goes after the same "kind(s)" of kids -- which by the way seems code for some sort of racial or socio economic bias.

Sarcasm, Wildcatfan. Beckerman simply stated that he hopes Knight is happy. Obviously there were underlining concerns there. I don't know, maybe Beckerman wanted Knight to go to Connecticut. Maybe Beckerman knew Knight's decision to commitment to Kentucky wasn't his alone. Personally, I don't see a difference between the basketball programs at Kentucky, Florida, Syracuse, Connecticut and Kansas other than size of fanbases and exposure. All have won NCAA titles and have put talented players in the NBA.


There will be NO ghost of John Wall to have to worry about. Knight's credentials speaks for itself. As long as he performs and buys into the team concept (he will be playing with other stars)he will thrive and be given the chance to shine. Shame on the coach with his whiny attitude. Kight's got game and he'll make sure a trip to UK will offer him a chance to get paid. Nothing wrong with that!

Donna Shanana,

Good job on back to back championships. So you had a couple of good years. So have 50 other programs out there. Call us when you win 8 titles or when UF wins its 2000th game. Calipari has never put a program on probation. Camby took money from an agent and Rose was CLEARED by the NCAA to play. You have a great football program but UF will never be able to carry UK's as far as a dominant basketball program. You may win some battles but we're kicking your ass in the war!

G8R8U2 R2D2 Douchebag

"The vast majority of his players will be broke one day." What do base those words of wisdom on? They'll make millions. If they piss it away, that's their fault. The level of jealousy is laughable. Wall and Cousins both have publicly given Calipari full credit for their development as players and young men this past year. Orton and Bledsoe weren't even close to being projected as draft picks this year until they came to KY, THE GREATEST TRADITION IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL. Plus you idiots would have given your first born to have any of our recruits from last year. Go visit one of your football players in jail and quit making moronic statements.


No difference between UK, FL, 'Cuse, UConn and Kansas except for fan bases and exposure? Are you really a paid sports journalist or some blogger living in your mother's basement? My guess is the latter.

And by the way, girls named Jo spell their name that way.

You're right, Scott. There is a difference. All of those teams I listed have won a national title in the last decade save one: Kentucky. And, by the way, there are no basements in Florida.



You can't be serious about not seeing a difference between UK and UF. Florida basketball has only been relevant for maybe the past decade. UK basketball has been relevant, I might go as far as to say the standard, for well over a CENTURY! That's a pretty big difference to me.

I wonder if Knight considered that the gators have a better lawyer to get him out of any trouble he might get in. Just ask 23 of the 24 gator football players arrested who had the same lawyer, who they didn't have to pay.

"Bledsoe was not an elite 5 star recruit like all the others but he certainly did play like it once he got there."

WRONG, ko classic.

Eric Bledsoe came on strong his senior season and was the 3rd ranked PG in the nation, the 23rd ranked player in the class, and a FIVE star recruit.

"And, by the way, there are no basements in Florida."

No. There are. Common misconception. I live in Florida, at the beach, and I have a basement.

Wow, cool. Do you pump out the water?


Cats rule and Gators drool.

I'm a lifelong Cat fan, and I pull for Gators most of the time. I don't believe Ky dominated in the past 10 years, but probably over the life of the SEC.

To the other Cat fans, I would caution you from talking too much smack until we win #8 sometime in the next few years.

I'm glad we got Cal right now. I have no concerns about his integrity, and it's sickening how quickly ignorant people call him a cheater without any facts to base that on.

That said, Billy D is a very good coach. I like his UK history. There were years when I would have traded him for Tubby or Billy Clyde in a heartbeat. I won't talk bad about Donovan because he has proven his worth. He deserves alot of credit for what he has done at UF. I prefer Cal and his style of emphasizing fun, as well as his superior recruiting skills.

A friend of mine from Fla has bragged for 20+ years about how the Gators are the best football program in the NCAA. He also was trash talking Cal this past year. But he recently admitted that UF basketball will never be the program that Ky is - in the same way Ky will never be the football program UF is. It's too hard to sustain without a focus.

So, I recommend we acknowledge that Cal is beating Billy on the recruiting trail. He has more to offer a huge talent like Knight. He will be groomed into a major impact PG in the NBA. Billy's doesn't have the recruiting track record like Cal. Still, Cal will need about 4-8 years to beat Billy's championship count.

I love the SEC. Cats are unquestionably dominant in tourney & title wins. But Fla brings up the whole conference and comfortably sit in the #2 seat right now for basketball.

I'll leave the football discussion to others because as a Ky fan, it's just something to occupy time until November anyway. I'd rather have 35-40 games of fun per year than 10-12. And basketball has much more action, thus more fun per game to watch.

Rajon, why did you suck in college?


Cause my coach wouldn't let us play. He had a problem with allow us to think and use our talent. He wanted to control our offense to a point where we were beaten down mentally.

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