DeShawn Painter took some weight off of his shoulders this weekend. The 6-foot-8 big man verbally committed to one of the top schools on his list on Sunday.
The big man from Norfolk, Va. unofficially visited Florida over the weekend and returned home a committed player. He saw enough to join the SEC program's 2009 recruiting class.
"To be honest with you, that's where I've wanted to go," Painter said. "It came down to them, Virginia and Louisville. I knew I didn't really want to stay around here for school and with Louisville, I just didn't know about them…For the most part, it was my relationship with the coaches [at Florida]."
For Painter, those relationships are priceless. The big man spoke highly of Billy Donovan and lead recruiter Rob Lanier.
"They wanted me as a person and as a player. They knew where I'm at in my life and as a player," Painter said. "They know me. They've been with me since day one and through all of the adversity.
"Lanier, he's one of those guys that asks me what I need to do to get better. Even when I have a good game, he'll ask me what I need to get better because he knows that I'm not a finished player yet."
He joins fellow Virginia Tidewater native Vernon Macklin in SEC country. The two are close friends and when Macklin decided to transfer to Gainesville from Georgetown, the whispers became a little louder regarding Painter's ultimate decision.
"That's my boy. We go back to when I was in the eighth grade," Painter said. "He's going to be there for me almost like a big brother."
Painter, who is headed to Hargrave Military next school year, joins fellow post player Erik Murphy in the class of 2009 recruiting class for the Gators.