basketball Edit

Florida Man: Pac-12 FutureCast, tourney prediction, Georgia opening

KJ Lewis
KJ Lewis (Nick Lucero/

Basketball recruiting director Rob Cassidy - aka Florida Man - makes a prediction in regards to KJ Lewis' college destination, sees an upset win in Chattanooga's future and looks at the possible candidates to replace Tom Crean at Georgia.


MORE: Ranking the Contenders for MacKenzie Mgbako

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40



Four-star wing KJ Lewis is set to announce his choice on Wednesday evening. The Texas-based standout is officially down to a final eight made up of Texas Tech, Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, Houston, Memphis and UCLA. unofficially, however, Texas Tech and Arizona seem like the two major players at this juncture. No top eight is created equal, after all.

There’s not much to separate the Wildcats and Red Raiders as we near Lewis’ 8 p.m. ET decision. The Rivals100 prospect has visited both campuses and seems to have solid relationships with both staffs. Still, sources believe Arizona holds the edge. Lewis plays his high school ball in El Paso, but is originally from the Grand Canyon State, where his father still lives. That, combined with his relationships with Wildcats head coach Tommy Lloyd and assistant Steve Robinson, may be just enough to put U of A over the top.

All signs point to Tucson here. So while the Red Raiders are lying in the weeds, they have plenty of 11th-hour work to do if they hope to pull this off.




PREDICTION OF THE WEEK: Chattanooga is going to make some No. 4 seed very sad next week.

Malachi Smith
Malachi Smith

If you missed Chattanooga’s incredible overtime victory in the SoCon championship game on Monday night, you can take a look at the completely bonkers last few possessions here.

But the Mocs are more than one unlikely heave, and their aspirations are larger than one memorable moment. As somebody that has religiously bet on and watched this team for a couple months, I’ll go on record confidently saying that they are going to ruin some larger fan base’s day next week.

Currently projected as a 13 seed by Joe Lunardi, the Mocs are going to show up as the underdog armed with the best SoCon player since Steph Curry in senior Malachi Smith, along with Kansas transfer Silvio De Sousa, who went for 17 points and 14 rebounds in Monday’s dramatic victory. Chattanooga has won five straight and nine of its last 11. It shoots 46.9 percent from the floor, scores points in bunches and ranks in the top 45 nationally in free-throw percentage. The Mocs possess high-major talent and veteran leadership. Buddy, some school with a large Twitter account is in for a bad time.

Lunardi currently projects Arkansas, Providence, Illinois and UCLA as four seeds, and one of them might just lose the Chattanooga lottery come Sunday. My condolences to whichever team does.


COACHING CHANGE OF THE WEEK: The Georgia job officially opens.

Tom Crean
Tom Crean (AP Images)

Tuesday morning brought reports that Georgia intends to part ways with head coach Tom Crean following the SEC Tournament. The news was less than surprising, but the UGA job is an intriguing one, given its location near the recruiting hotbed of Atlanta and the school’s available resources. Aside from producing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft in Anthony Edwards, the Crean Era in Athens was an unmemorable one. But we here at Florida Man prefer to focus on the future, so we close this week’s column with a look at a handful of possible candidates to take the reins at UGA.

Xavier assistant Jonas Hayes – An Atlanta native and former UGA player, Hayes is a fit for the Bulldogs in multiple ways. He currently recruits the Southeast, in addition to hotbeds like Maryland and Washington, D.C., for the Musketeers and knows the landscape of the areas where the Bulldogs must find talent. The fact that he once played high-level AAU ball in the Atlanta area will also play well on the trail.

Chattanooga head coach Lamont Paris – An established head coach with a track record of recent success sits less than three hours away from Georgia’s campus in the form of Chattanooga's head coach.. Paris led the Mocs to a SoCon title and NCAA Tournament this season, and he has experience at the high-major level, having spent six seasons as a Wisconsin assistant before assuming his current post. The 47-year-old Paris is making a name for himself in the region and has won 20 games in two of his last three seasons at Chattanooga, which could make him a hot commodity should he find a way to win a tournament game or two next week.

Cleveland State head coach Dennis Gates – Gates’ name would be a bit hotter had his Vikings found themselves in a second consecutive NCAA Tournament instead of losing to Wright State in the Horizon League Tournament on Monday night. But interest in his services will remain nevertheless. The 42-year-old head coach, who resurrected CSU, is 39-18 in the last two seasons and has led his team to two straight regular-season titles. A former Florida State assistant, Gates knows his way around the Southeast and has ties all over the athlete-rich Sunshine State.