In addition to the major weekend for the football team, Florida basketball has an important couple of days as they’ll be welcoming in a key 2022 target on an official visit.
Denzel Aberdeen has been a guard the Gators have had their eye on for some time, initially showing interest when he was under the radar before other high major teams also took interest. He still appears to be slept on, as he remains unranked in a number of recruiting services. The ones that have evaluated him have him as a three star, though his interests and offers speak to a player certainly more talented.
His final schools consist of Oklahoma, Iona, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, and Florida.
Aberdeen is a point guard listed at 6’4” and 175 pounds, enough size to give him the versatility to play as a shooting guard if needed. What’s nice about his game is that he has size at the point guard position and he knows how and is willing to use it. Playing in Orlando for Dr. Phillips and AAU team Team Parsons you regularly saw Aberdeen physically overwhelming smaller point guards on the inside, getting into the paint and finishing overtop of them.
Aberdeen’s game is a mix of control and relentlessness. On one hand he is a safe, reliable point guard. He plays well within a structured offense and makes correct reads, never making high risk maneuvers or risky passes. This shows a level of maturity you don’t always see from high school guards and you can see why coaches find his level of security enticing. On the other hand, he plays with a relentless desire to drive into the paint, something that wears down defenses who have to repeatedly try to stop the drives of who is usually the biggest guard on the floor.
It’s easy to imagine Aberdeen one a high major floor due to his size and maturity. He might not have the high-end flashes that would suggest he could one day be a star, but the skills and size he does demonstrate shows a safe rotation level player.
Florida’s staff, who has seen more of him than just about anyone else, and definitely more than me, likely sees a higher end outcome for the Orlando product. They have made Aberdeen a priority, something that shows a lot of confidence considering he isn’t a high level prospect–at least by current recruiting rankings.
The point guard position in 2022-23 will be an interesting one because the Gators could very well end up losing Tyree Appleby. He technically could come back for that season due to last year not counting towards a player’s eligibility, but that would be his sixth year in college. It’s possible that’s something he would be interested in, particularly in the era of NIL, but there is also a chance his sights will be set elsewhere. That means the Gators will have a lot of minutes available at the point guard spot, a situation that some thought meant the Gators would hunt a top level recruit for the spot.
Perhaps the Gators think Aberdeen could step in and play right away, but it also means they might be looking for a longer-term point guard option in the 2022 class and an immediately available veteran transfer to step in and take the starting role. Given how the last couple of years have gone and the changes to the transfer rules, that would be a completely reasonable strategy.
Something else to consider with the recruitment of Aberdeen is that he plays at Dr. Phillips alongside Ernest Udeh, a 6’10” beast at center who is currently the 29th ranked player in the class. Perhaps landing Aberdeen would give the Gators the upper hand in landing Udeh, something they could use to swing the recruitment in their favor. They are currently in the mix, but Alabama, Arkansas, and Baylor are also in hot pursuit making it an extremely competitive recruitment.
While landing Aberdeen could help with Udeh’s recruitment, they wouldn’t take him if they didn’t think he was a good enough player to be at Florida. Package deals hardly ever work out in the sport of college basketball, so taking a player just to better your odds with his teammate would be a foolish move. The Gators definitely believe in Aberdeen, and they should have a good chance at getting his commitment, perhaps even this weekend on his visit or shortly after. Florida was the last of the official visits he had planned after Oklahoma and Georgia Tech, meaning he could be close to a decision.
Recently Mike White has gone after smaller, quicker point guards, which makes Aberdeen a bit of an outlier. This could mean the Gators will be looking to be more switchable in the future, and to do that you need bigger, physical point guards. Aberdeen is still a competitor on the defensive end, something that White loves from his point guards, so it’s not a huge departure from the recent point guards he has targeted.
Aberdeen’s visit is on Friday, and we may hear a decision from him soon after that.