Alexander to Florida
Florida landed its first member of the 2017 class when Hamilton Heights (TN) Christian Academy point guard Shai Alexander gave his verbal commitment to head coach Mike White while on an unofficial visit Wednesday night. The commitment was made public Friday.
Alexander was accompanied on his unofficial visit by his UPlay Canada AAU Coach Dwayne Washington.
BREAKING DOWN ALEXANDER: Alexander is an under-the-radar 6-foot-4, 165-pound point guard who transferred from Sir Allan MacNab Secondary School in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, to Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga this summer.
While on the thin side, Alexander is quite skilled with the ball, gets others involved and has a great feel for the game. He is a very cerebral, a very quick thinker in terms of what is happening on the court.
He held offers from American, Binghamton, St. Bonaventure and Middle Tennessee State in addition to Florida. UCLA, Butler, Davidson, Vanderbilt and Dayton were showing interest in Alexander, according to Coach Washington.
WORDS FROM HIS COACH: "Shai flew in for the visit Wednesday morning. We went to shootaround, visited the office and saw the (Vermont) game. They definitely need a kid like him with the way they want to play. He was able to see how they want to use guys off the high ball screen, passing and get the big guys involved and they don't have that right now for how they want to play. Coach White showed how the kid would fit in and why he was a need. He showed us three years of video, going back to Louisiana Tech, on how he uses point guards. There was no hype, there was no 'this could be you' it was really about their business program, it was about the resources academically and it was about how he fit in on the court. The kid is really quiet, really low key so he wasn't concerned about anything else."
RIVALS REACTION: Florida offered Alexander just two weeks ago, so the quick commitment was a bit of a surprise.
WHAT'S NEXT? With the expectation that redshirt sophomore center John Egbunu may enter the NBA draft following the current season, White and his staff continue to search for a big man in the 2016 class while also pushing for commitments in the 2017 class. They could have five spots to fill for 2017.
Russ Wood is a basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com and Inside the Gators. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.