I must first start off by thanking GatorCountry.com for compiling the predictions made by each of the recruits thus far. At this time of the year, it is rare to find a good Hoops story – but this could not have come at a better time with the NBA Finals in full swing.
Given the heightened national debate about LeBron James and the Heat, it seemed necessary to find out what Florida Gators basketball signees and undeclared prospects are thinking about this year’s NBA Finals.
Check out what team these recruits believe will win and their reasoning behind their decision:
2014 PF Jalen Lindsey (Christ Presbyterian/ Nashville, Tenn.) “Yeah I for sure think OKC will win because they play as a team. And who is going to stop Kevin Durant?”
2013 PF Austin Nichols (Briarcrest Christian/ Franklin, Tenn.) “I think the Heat will win, but I’m going to be rooting for the Thunder. Durant is a great player and an even better person so that’s why I’m rooting for them.”
2012 SG Dillon Graham (The First Academy/ Orlando, Fla.) *Signed with UF “I think the Heat will win. LeBron is due for a championship and they are playing good right now. When LeBron gets hot there is no stopping him. (Dwayne) Wade is too quick to the basket to stop and (Chris) Bosh is a solid mid-range shooter who will knock down shots and rebound.”
2013 SF Ishmail Wainright (Montrose Christian, Raytown, Mo.) “KD and LBJ are the best players in the league. They both have something to prove, but I’m going with the Heat.”
2014 PG Richard Lee (Blanche Ely/ Pompano Beach, Fla.) “OKC because their speed and athletic ability, defensive intensity and their bench is better than the Heat.”
2014 SG Dimitri Thompson (Orlando Christian Prep/ Orlando, Fla.) “In my opinion, I think the Thunder will win because they have such a strong inside presence.”
2013 SF Reggie Cameron (Hudson Catholic/ Paterson, N.J.) “I think the Thunder will win the series. LeBron will have a great series and so will Wade, but I think the Thunder’s supporting cast does too much and their role players show up nine times out of ten. Also, if LeBron and Durant cancel each other out, Wade and (Russell) Westbrook cancel out, there’s no answer for (James) Harden.”
2013 SG Josh Hart (Sidwell Friends/ Silver Spring, Md.) “Miami will win. LeBron has been playing really well and Bosh is contributing. If Wade can pick up his game and give them energy like he has, I think they are unstoppable.”
2012 SG Michael Frazier (Montverde Academy/ Montverde, Fla.) *Signed with UF “I think the Thunder will win because they have a younger team and because they have more weapons than the Heat with their big three in Durant, Westbrook and Harden, and then they (Serge) Ibaka, who would be a star on some other teams in this league with his ability to stretch the floor.
“I also believe that the Thunder have a better bench than the Heat. Miami has to depend on LeBron too much since Bosh is just coming back off an injury an Wade hasn’t been as consistent as he would like to be.”
“But with the Thunder, their big three is playing fantastic and they play off each other very well. They have had four of their stars step up in big games, along with their big three playing more consistent than the Heat’s big three. That’s why I think the Thunder win the Finals in six games.”
2013 SF Dre’Kalo Clayton (Orlando Christian Prep/ Orlando, Fla.) “My team is Miami and the reason why I picked them is because LeBron is going to bully Thabo Sefolosha. Plus, Westbrook is going to take too many shots and try and act like Durant.”
2014 SG Adonys Henriquez (Orlando Christian Prep/ Orlando, Fla.) “I pick the Heat because LeBron is going to take over the series.”
2014 C Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy/ New York, N.Y.) “(I pick) the Heat because nobody can stop LeBron the way he is rolling right now and his time is right now.”
2014 PF Malik Price-Martin (Monsignor Pace/ Miami Gardens, Fla.) “I think the Heat will win in seven games because LeBron is too hard to guard and the Thunder are too young.”
I for one completely disagree with those young recruits in favor of the Miami Heat. Sure, many of the recruits are coming straight from the great state of Florida, but we still have to be realistic – don’t we? Let’s be honest. LeBron James was the consensus MVP of the league, but he has a less than stellar supporting cast behind him. Many would say the current Heat lineup is barely better than some of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that LeBron played on when he took the franchise to the championship series.
Wade is hurt and has not been himself for several games. His knee is lacking the strength to do much on the offensive side of the floor and unfortunately, no one is quick enough to keep up with OKC’s phenomenal point guard.
I’ll have to end this article by saying that while I agree that the Heat are a good team and deserved to be in the Finals, the Thunder are going to roll right through this series and win in 6-games. With that said, I hope the recruits take this news well and prepare for an incredible 2012-13 season!
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