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Chemistry, leaders give Gators edge

Florida men's basketball coach Lon Kruger answers questions from Tampa Bay area youngsters:

Q: Why are the Gators doing so much better this year than they have in the past

?

_ Sharon Norwood, 10,

St. Petersburg

A: We've had tremendous leadership from our veteran players and very good team chemistry this season. Everyone is contributing to the success of the squad. Our players really do not care who gets the credit, they just want to work together as a team.

Q: Is it fun being the Gator coach

?

_ Patrick Deering, 8,

Safety Harbor

A: I really couldn't imagine doing anything else at this time. The players are very enjoyable to work with on and off the court, and we have a very strong fan base throughout the state. We also have an opportunity to get out in the community and meet many young people.

Q: Do you think I should continue to use my crossover dribble if it will help free me up in the lane

?

_ Jake Johnson, 13,

St. Petersburg

A: What we like to tell young people is to work very hard on the fundamentals of the game _ dribbling, shooting, passing, defense. These fundamentals serve as a significant base for the future. Our squad spends time working on the fundamentals of the game every day.

Q: Do you think you were lucky when you beat Kentucky earlier this year

?

_ Sam Dailey, Seminole

A: We prepared very well for our first meeting with Kentucky and played with great teamwork and intensity for the entire 40 minutes. Our players' preparation and the effort we gave in the game was the reason for the victory.

Q: Are Dan Cross and Dametri Hill going to be on the team next year? _ Zack Pope, 9,

St. Petersburg

A: Both Dan and Dametri will be back next year. Dan is a junior and Dametri is a sophomore. We look forward to their play and leadership next season.

Q: Do you think the Gators will be in the Final Four

?

_ Luke Raulerson, 10,

St. Petersburg

A: The Final Four is the goal for the 301 NCAA Division I teams each year. We are awaiting with much anticipation playing in the NCAA Tournament.

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