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Tuesday December 17, 2013 Walk-on "Big Z" meets Big Apple -- in uniform, no less

Updated: 3:49pm, December 17

Big Z NEW YORK -- He was invited into the Florida basketball program as a walk-on in October. At 6-foot-10, 236 pounds, Zachary Pindar certainly serves a purpose in practice, working in the post as a member of the Gators scout team.

Pindar played at Dr. Phillips (alongside former University of Miami All-American Shane Larkin), but grew up in Stony Point, N.Y. So it probably was no surprise when Pindar told the UF staff his family was traveling to New York City for the holidays and asked if he could attend to the Gators’ game Tuesday night against Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Coach Billy Donovan did one better.

“Put him on the traveling squad,” Donovan ordered.

Joe KleinSo Pindar is living the dream -- if only for 30-some hours and a one-shot deal -- of donning Gators gear, hopping on the chartered flight, staying in the team’s Manhattan hotel and, tonight, suiting up for Florida at the world’s most famous sports arena.

“I’m so humbled,” said Pindar, who posed for this photo (right) during Tuesday afternoon's shoot-around at the Garden. “And so appreciative.” 

If you see a big redhead wearing No. 21 on the UF bench, that’s the kid they call “Big Z” or sometimes even “Joe Kleine," due to a slight resemblance to the former Arkansas star, 1984 Olympic gold-medalist and 15-year NBA journeyman (pictured right).

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