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Samson Ruzhentsev

Florida men's basketball coach Mike White has snagged a second commitment from a Hamilton Heights Christian Academy player in as many seasons.

Samson Ruzhentsev, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward from Moscow, Russia, announced his nonbinding pledge to the Gators on Friday via social media. Florida signed 6-11, 290-pound Hamilton Heights center Jason Jitobah, who is originally from Abuja, Nigeria, in its 2019 class.

"Excited to announce that I'll be attending the University of Florida!!" Ruzhentsev posted on Twitter. "Yessir Gator Nation."

Ruzhentsev is rated by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 75 prospect and by 247Sports.com as the No. 110 prospect. He is considered the second-best Volunteer State recruit for the 2020 cycle, trailing only five-star shooting guard Keon Johnson, who plays for Bell Buckle's Webb School and has committed to Tennessee.

Ruzhentsev visited Florida last weekend.

"After my visits, I just felt like it was a place that I wanted to be, and it felt like home," Ruzhentsev told Rivals.com. "I love the coaching staff and the players. They only have one true three-man on its roster, and that is (five-star freshman) Scottie Lewis, who is going to the league (NBA) next year. They want for me to take his spot.

"Plus, I like the way that they play — fast, four-out, and shooting a lot of 3s."

Hamilton Heights has been a basketball pipeline to the Southeastern Conference in recent years, producing a list that includes Mississippi State junior forward Abdul Ado (6-11, 255), and Tennessee Lady Vols sophomore guard Jazmine Massengill (6-0). Ado arrived at Hamilton Heights from Lagos, Nigeria, while Massengill is from Chattanooga.

Former Hamilton Heights guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker played the past two seasons at Virginia Tech and is now a New Orleans Pelicans rookie.

The most notable Hamilton Heights alum is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who played one season at Kentucky before becoming the No. 11 selection of the 2018 NBA draft. Gilgeous-Alexander first committed to Florida before switching and signing with the Wildcats.

Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 10.8 points last season for the Los Angeles Clippers but was traded in July to the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of the exchange for Paul George.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.

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