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September 30, 2013
Over the weekend Altamonte Springs (Fla.) Lake Brantley forward John Mooney became Florida's first basketball commitment for 2016.
The 6-foot-7 Mooney took an unofficial visit to Gainesville on Saturday along with his parents and when Gator Head Coach Billy Donovan made the offer, Mooney told him that he wanted in.
"I've always been a Gator fan growing up," Mooney said. "Coach Donovan gave me the offer and quite honestly I don't think there's another coach out there that can take me to another level. I think he can help me reach my full potential and I'm just very fortunate that this all happened and I'm just real grateful."
Mooney told Inside the Gators that Florida assistant coach Matt McCall recently watched him at a few of Lake Brantley's open gym practices and last Wednesday invited the family for an unofficial visit.
"It wasn't my first time on campus, but it was my first time talking to Coach Donovan," commented Mooney. "Coach Donovan told me that I could fit in and be an Erik Murphy type of player, like a pick and pop, pick and roll stretch four. And I feel I could do that too. I'm between 6'7 and 6'8, 225 and I'm pretty versatile. I can play inside or outside. Inside I like going to a hook shot off my right side over the left shoulder. I'm a pretty good shooter from the outside; I'm working on my pull up though. I really like to pass it more than anything."
Just 15 years old, Mooney has plenty of time to work on becoming an even better shooter.
Other areas of his game that he's working on are adding strength and speed.
On the Travel Team Circuit Mooney helped lead the Nike Team Florida 2016 squad to the semi-finals of the 9th Grade Super Showcase at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Rick Staudt of Source Hoops watched Mooney at that event and offered the following evaluation:
"What stands out most is his ability to see the floor and make passes the defense does not anticipate. Mooney is excellent on the wing, in the high post, and in transition at finding cutters for open scores. He's not a guy to create his own offense but will get points in transition, via offensive rebounds, and perimeter jumpers out to the arc. He rebounds okay at this point and defensively he is very good at anticipating the next move for the offense and jumping into the passing lane to deflect or steal the ball. He won't "wow" observers with athleticism but isn't a bad run/jump athlete."
As a freshman in the 2012-2013 season, Mooney averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and close to 4 assists for Lake Brantley. He's just the third freshman to play varsity for 10 year Lake Brantley coach Mike Cuff.