After a four-year career that lifted him into elite status in Florida men’s basketball history, Chris Chiozza’s collegiate career ended Saturday when the Gators lost their second-round game in the NCAA Tournament to Texas Tech 69-66.
And on Thursday, his grandmother made sure the Florida community knew just how much the family appreciated everything it did for the star point guard.
Mary “Bunny” Chiozza penned a letter to The Independent Florida Alligator thanking the UF community “for their support, friendship and for the excellent education” given to Chiozza during his time in Gainesville. The full letter can be read here.
“In August of 2014, we looked forward to the day Chris would be an alumnus of U of F,” Mary Chiozza wrote in the letter. “Now that that hope is to be fulfilled in May 2018 at graduation, we ‘kinda’ wish it was a little further off.”
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Most Florida fans feel that way, too.
Chiozza was the heart and soul of a Florida team that saw its roller coaster season end in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In his first and only year as the Gators’ full-time starting point guard, Chiozza averaged 6.12 assists per game — the second-best single-season mark in Florida history — and 11.1 points. The Memphis, Tennessee, native reset the school’s career assist record on senior night and finished his career with 571 assists overall. He is also one of three players in Florida history to record a triple-double.
“It was a fun ride. It was wild. I had a lot of ups and downs,” Chiozza said after the loss to Texas Tech. “You know, but I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. I'm glad that I chose to come here and stay here with the coaching change, and it's probably the best decision I made in my whole life, just sticking through that process and just staying with my team and just forming a brotherhood and gaining new family members.
“It's just something I'm never going to forget. It didn't end the way I wanted it, but I'm not going to look back and say I didn't have any regrets. I played as hard as I could, and we just came up a little short today.”