Shortly before the tip off of Florida's win over Mississippi State, Inside The Gators broke out the name of under the radar basketball prospect Jordan Neff, a 6-foot-6 junior forward from Kennesaw, Ga.
To this point several low and mid major D-1 schools have offered him. However, the Gators and several other high major schools are now showing interest and have entered the picture.
Inside the Gators spoke to Jordan and his father, Randy Neff, to get the latest info on this fast rising prospect.
"I think right now he's averaging about 16 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocked shots" the elder Neff said.
"They're using him as a center and on defense he's banging with big the big guys. They're (North Cobb High School) 17-4 right now and second in their region. The thing with Jordan is, is this is his first real high school season. As a freshman he was on the varsity team but had a knee injury and never got to play a game as a freshman. As a sophomore he played one game, scored 22 points and suffered a stress fracture in his foot. He played very little because his coach didn't want to ruin his AAU season. Playing with the Georgia Stars last year was his first real exposure, so most coaches got to see him for the first time last year."
Neff said his son's recruitment is beginning to gain momentum.
"They (Florida) sent us mail for probably about a year but the first real personal contact we got from Florida was about two weeks ago when Coach [Norm] Roberts called.
"Florida State is showing a lot of interest. Georgia Tech, Clemson, Georgia and Tennessee, Xavier have shown a lot of interest, Purdue and Indiana have shown some. And a ton of mid majors. None of the high majors have offered, but he's probably gotten 50 or more offers from mid-majors. He really, really wants to go to school in Florida somewhere. He's really not interested in the schools that are north of Georgia."
The elder Neff did give a brief glimpse of where the Gators might stand in the recruiting picture for his son.
"We have a huge interest in Florida. We're really impressed with the coaching staff. After seeing the team in person yesterday (1/28) we're really impressed with the high energy of the team and Florida fans are awesome. I was born in what used to be Alachua General, my whole family is Gators. My dad, aunts and uncles all graduated from Florida."
The obvious question was "how was the Florida visit?"
"Well there really wasn't much of a visit. Originally we thought we we're going to the ball game and get a tour of the campus afterward, but that didn't work out so we just went to the ball game. Talking with Coach Roberts he said he wants us to come back and do a tour at some point but yesterday was a little hectic."
The younger Neff is an athletic lefty with an above the rim game thanks to a 37-inch vertical. "I like to attack and play with a lot of energy at both ends of the floor. I've been working on my face up game a lot because I'll be playing small forward in college."
Right now it appears as though the Gators are in evaluation mode with Neff.
"Coach Roberts told me that he's gonna come up and watch me play in a couple of weeks when he has a break. Coach Donovan said he was looking forward to watching me play. Florida has always been a strong program think it would be a cool place to go."
Wood's Analysis: Neff is an intriguing prospect. He opened some eyes with his AAU play with the Georgia Stars. The full offense isn't there yet but with his athleticism if he stays healthy and improves his ability to shoot it, put it on the floor and create his own shot; you have the potential for a solid high-major prospect on your hands. Plus he is a low maintenance kid, and with family in the area, his support system is in place.
Mark him down as a player the Gators will monitor, one that will draw a lot of UF attention this spring and summer as recruiting heats up. If his offensive skill set grows a Florida offer may follow.