Why wait? Kenny Kadji saw all three of his finalists up close and personal and decided to scrap his original plan on committing in late July. The five-star center verbally committed to Florida on Friday.
Kadji, the No. 21 ranked player in the class of 2008, made the call to Billy Donovan on Friday morning and committed himself to the two-time defending national champions.
"On my last visit there I felt comfortable around the staff, the head coach and the players," Kadji, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound center from IMG Academy in Florida, said. "Billy Donovan and I had a talk one-on-one and he told me some great things about how he is going to get me better and how we are going to have a great team and win. He told me some of my weaknesses and I didn't realize he was watching me that close like improving my left hand and my jump shot."
The fifth best center in the senior class originally planned on announcing his decision between Florida, Kansas State and Memphis on July 26 at the adidas Super 64 tournament in Las Vegas. Kadji said he liked enough of the Gator program to make his pick sooner than later.
Kadji unofficially visited Florida after attending the NBPA Top 100 camp. He also participated and visited Kansas State and Memphis in June. Picking Florida was a tough decision, he said.
"It was a hard decision because Kansas State and Memphis are great schools," Kadji said. "I've built great relationships with both of them."
With an immediate need for a center, Kadji said Florida provided him with an opportunity to play right away at the five spot.
"Every basketball player wants to play. It was a big part of my choice. I know I'll have a lot of great players around me and we have great shooters so I won't have a lot of double teams," he said.
The Gators landed Kadji's teammate Ray Shipman last week. He announced his decision at the NBPA Top 100 camp. Florida also holds a commitment from New York point guard Erving Walker, who committed in late December 2006. Kadji said his decision was easier to make after Shipman picked the Gators.
"I come from France and I don't have a lot of friends here so when I have a chance to play with some people that I know and that I can believe in and trust it's a good thing," Kadji said.