Last year, junior guard Chris Chiozza was watching the NCAA tournament from home. This year, the Florida Gators were 26-8 and are currently in the Sweet 16, fighting for an NCAA championship. Only one team stands between the Gators and the Elite 8: the Wisconsin Badgers. Chiozza has been a starter for the Gator since his freshman year. He says he has a great respect for the Wisconsin defense, which was ranked number 10 in the nation. Chiozza is excited and looks forward to returning to Madison Square Garden. The energy of the arena is unmatched, and he believes it will cause him and his teammates to step up their play.
Chiozza, while he did start as a freshman, had a bumpy recruiting process. He originally committed to Florida under former head coach Billy Donovan. But when Donovan accepted a job with NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, it left the head coaching position vacant. This left Chiozza confused, not knowing if he wanted to decommit or stick with his original choice. After long talks with family, friends, and teammates Chiozza decides to stick it out. That, he says now, is a decision he does not regret. Chiozza instantly hit it off with new head coach Mike White, and liked how he planned to run the team.
Chiozza is a team player. He speaks highly of teammate Devin Robinson. He is proud of how Robinson has grown and matured, and really stepped up for the team in the past two games to lead them in points. His length and athleticism is what can really impact a game and decide an outcome, according to Chiozza.
Chiozza’s Keys To Success
Playing. Together. That simple. The great ball movement opens up the whole playbook for the Gators. The selflessness on the team has shined through in a lot of games where the gators were counted out, and Chiozza emphasizes the importance of picking each other up. If one man falls, it’s on the team to make it up. The Gators are focusing on playing for the name on the front of the jersey. Focusing on the name on the back will only cause the team to fall, and this is when the team needs to come together the most.