Bridgeport native Koss hopes to see Gators back in Final Four
Bill Koss has seen a lot of basketball in his days.
As a player at Bridgeport High School and the University of Florida to his current job of serving as an analyst for Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida covering the Gators’ top-seeded men’s basketball program.
“This year has been pretty special,” Koss said during a telephone interview from his hotel room Friday. “Florida is a really good team. They are national championshp caliber.”
Koss will be courtside tonight when Florida (35-2) – winners of a school-best 29 consecutive contests – meets Cinderella Dayton (26-10) in the South Regional finals inside the FedEx Forum.
“This Florida team isn’t one of those with a top 10 draft status, but these kids are uniquely bound by a genuine interest in playing with each other,” Koss described. “They are committed as a group to winning, not that the national championship teams weren’t.
“These kids play hard, especially on the defensive end of the court,” Koss added. “They are very good at being unselfish when it comes to helping each other out. Coach Billy Donovan has really gotten his principles on how to play defense across to this bunch.
“They cause difficulty for the opponents to get into their offense, and it also takes time off of the shot clock,” the 1960 Bridgeport graduate continued. “Offensively, they can beat you in a variety of ways. They’ve got some kids that can shoot, but they’ve also got different ways of scoring.”
Koss said he really likes freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin (6-2, 176), powerful center Patric Young (6-9, 240) and unsung Will Yeguete (6-8, 230).
“The Wilbekin kid is very heady and tough-minded,” Koss assessed. “He’s been through a lot of personal challenges that have made him more mature.
“Young is a man-child,” Koss allowed. “He’s so strong inside, and Yeguete is the most underrated player on the team. He does all the little stuff that doesn’t show up in the boxscores.”
So, what about the red-hot Flyers?
“Obviously, last night (Thursday) was the first time that I gotten to see them play live, but I have watched them on TV a couple of times,” Koss said. “They’ve got a tremendous blend of veterans and young players. I was really impressed with them.
“They’ve have some very big wins this season,” Koss said of Dayton. “They’ve beaten Georgia Tech and Gonzaga and they’ve got eight straight wins over SEC teams.”
He said the team that shoots the ball more efficiently and takes care of the ball better will win.
On a personal note, Koss was inducted into the 2013 Class of Allstate SEC Basketball Legends earlier this season.
One former player from each member of the conference was recognized. The legends were honored at the SEC men’s basketball tournament on March 13-17 in Nashville, Tenn.
“I was very humbled and honored,” Koss said of his enshrinement. “I’ve enjoyed a wonderful career with the SEC, especially with my work with the Gators. It was really fantastic.”
Koss was a member of the UF men’s basketball team from 1963-65. He played in 48 games in his Florida career and averaged 2.8 points per game and 2.3 rebounds per contest.
Since his playing days, he has been involved with the program as an assistant coach and broadcaster. He served an assistant coach from 1966-72. For the past 34 years he has served as an analyst for various radio and television stations covering the University of Florida men’s basketball team. Koss has worked for Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida for the past 19 years.
The 2013 class also included Wimp Sanderson, Alabama; Jerry Carlton, Arkansas; Ronnie Battle, Auburn; Tim Bassett, Georgia; Jamal Mashburn, Kentucky; Geert Hammink, LSU; Rahim Lockhart, Ole Miss; Horatio Webster, Mississippi State; Norm Stewart, Missouri; Eddie Fogler, South Carolina; Len Kosmalski, Tennessee; John Beasley, Texas A&M; Mike Rhoades, Vanderbilt.
“They’re the one’s that are the legends. Not me,” Koss said.
“I got to know Wimp and Eddie when they coached and I covered games that Jamal played in. So, it’s nice.
Going to the SEC Tournament is like going to a family reunion. Everyone knows everyone and it’s a good time.”
Koss is hoping that Florida’s run continues and ends in northern Texas in early next month.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org