A Look At Possible Transfer Portal Targets

March Madness might refer to what’s going on in the NCAA Tournament right now, but some of the real madness is actually going down in the transfer portal.

According to current rules (which are almost universally disliked–so look for this to change in the near future) the transfer portal opens the Monday morning immediately after Selection Sunday. As soon as 12:01 AM hit, names started to hit the portal. Now that Florida has seen their 2023-24 season come to an end it’s all about retooling for the 2024-25 season and while the Gators would be open to bringing in elite high school talent their focus is almost certainly going to be bringing in players through the portal. 


Right now Florida will be looking for players at multiple positions. They would love a veteran point guard to try and replicate Zyon Pullin’s success, and they also will need some experience and production in the frontcourt after losing Tyrese Samuel and the status of Micah Handlogten being in question. A glaring weakness on last year’s roster was the lack of wings who could guard big perimeter players, and that’s an area they’ll need to address. 


Florida is in an outstanding place from an NIL standpoint and for that reason will be able to recruit nationally and pull in some big names as they did the season prior when they went out and got players from coast to coast who were as sought after as anyone–particularly Zyon Pullin, Walter Clayton, and Tyrese Samuel.


Currently teams are playing things pretty tight to the vest when it comes to who they’re pursuing for both recruiting and negotiation purposes. For that reason we can’t be totally sure who the Gators have contacted, though we can have a pretty good idea based on their ability to get involved with just about anybody they want. Here are some of the best players in the portal that the Gators could go after.


Sean Pedulla

Virginia Tech


For years the mid or low-major players who have put up outrageous numbers have been the hottest names in the transfer portal, but those have often turned out to be lottery tickets that can hit but also have a chance to completely miss. Productive players who have proven it at the high-major level are quickly becoming the safer and more effective option while still providing plenty of upside and that’s why Sean Pedulla, a 6’1” junior point guard, will have plenty of suitors should he choose to leave Virginia Tech (his name is in the portal–though he hasn’t ruled out a return). Last year Pedulla averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 assists and that was no fluke as the year prior he averaged 15.0 points and 3.8 assists. Coming into college there were questions about his lack of elite size or athleticism but after two monster years those questions have largely been answered. Pedulla is an extremely intelligent point guard who orchestrated a complex Mike Young offense at Virginia Tech. A career 36% shooter from three he was used off a lot of screens in that scheme which made for challenging shots and continually he showed the ability to hit them. Ranking 66th in the country in assist rate, he is constantly looking to set up teammates first before he looks to score which is impressive considering how many points he’s able to put up. Pedulla isn’t prototypically explosive and his style might not be particularly flashy but you know exactly what you’re going to get from him and there aren’t many players that have scored 15+ points a game for two seasons at a high major league available in the portal. 


Lynn Kidd

Virginia Tech


Sorry to do this Virginia Tech, but the pipeline of Virginia Tech to Florida players has been rich with Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Hudson, and Kerry Blackshear, and they might need to add another one of your guys. Plus–Lynn Kidd hails from Gainesville, so it will be a player they look at closely. Kidd is a 6’10, 235 pound center and with Florida needing some interior attrition and with those guys hard to find in the portal he’s going to be a hot commodity. A senior who will have one final year to play, Kidd is someone who has steadily gotten better throughout his four years that started at Clemson and finished at Virginia Tech where he averaged 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. A number that Florida’s staff will love is his defensive rebound rate which ranks 34th in the country, and the Gators would like to improve their ability on that end. While the Gators were excellent in the offensive rebounding category they weren’t great on the defensive glass, and a player like Kidd could clean that up. Kidd is somewhat of a traditional post player that gets all his work done around the rim, though he is also used as a passer out of the high post in Virginia Tech’s offense. Ideally Florida would probably like a little bit more athleticism from the center position (Kidd isn’t a great rim protector) and maybe some shooting (Kidd hasn’t attempted a three) but he’s a high intelligence offensive player that has proven his ability at the high-major level.


Jordan Sears

UT Martin

We talked about some proven high-major players that might not be the flashiest names but would be safe production, but there is always a place for teams to go after mid-major gunners and Jordan Sears is just that. The 5’11” Daytona Beach product was one of the highest scorers in college basketball last season putting up 21.6 points, 4.5 assists, and 4.6 rebounds per game, and those kinds of numbers are going to get high-major coaching staffs interested. Sears is a tough cover and with his compact frame he’s able to slither into the rim whenever he wants and if he doesn’t finish a layup he’s adept at drawing contact and getting to the foul line. To survive as a small guard you’ve got to be able to shoot and he checks that box shooting an incredible 43% with many attempts coming off the bounce. Last year Florida’s backcourt was built on physicality and explosiveness, and Sears would certainly change the complexion with a lot more electricity and pace. Early in the season Sears had 21 points and 2 assists against Mississippi State and 20 points and 4 assists against NC State. 


Malik Dia


When Todd Golden first came to Florida he went after a Belmont player with multiple years of eligibility remaining in Will Richard and he might look to go after another one in Malik Dia, a 6’9”, 240 pound sophomore forward who made a huge splash this year averaging 16.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. You might remember Dia from his freshman year at Vanderbilt though he hardly played, and things clicked once he got to Belmont and started putting up huge numbers. One of the things Florida was looking for in the transfer portal last year was “usage,” and Dia was one of the highest usage players in the country last season. When he was on the floor the ball was in his hands and he was looking to score. On the block, in the high post, or from deep–he was constantly wired to try and score. Dia looks like a player who could fit the Samuel role quite easily–in fact, he would probably be more comfortable with the offensive load, though he doesn’t quite have the same level of defense and rebounding yet. Florida’s staff also really thought Samuel was going to be able to shoot the three and they weren’t able to make that happen, and Dia would bring that ability at 3.9 attempts per game while shooting a respectable 34%. This is absolutely a player to look out for. 


Cade Tyson



You didn’t think there would be just one Belmont player with multiple years of eligibility remaining that the Gators could go after, did you? Cade Tyson a 6’7” wing, a position that is extremely scarce, and as a sophomore he put up an excellent season averaging 16.2 points after a tremendous freshman season where he averaged 13.6. Tyson’s calling card–shooting the three as good as anyone in the country. Last year Tyson shot 47% from three on 5.5 attempts per game, simply outrageous numbers particularly when you see how Belmont played and the fact that teams were so heavily concerned with keeping him off the line. It doesn’t seem like it was a fluke either as during his freshman year he shot 42% from three. Tyson isn’t an elite athlete but he moves well and he has good size at the wing position, and the Gators would love to have a flamethrower to space the floor. 


Sam Alexis


Another player that could be looked at to fill the Tyrese Samuel role is Sam Alexis, who also has multiple years of eligibility remaining as only a sophomore. Alexis is a 6’9”, 215 pound forward who is technically pretty thin but he plays strong and has a lot more perimeter versatility than some of Florida’s bigs last year that were tasked to guard some faster “4”s on the outside. His numbers are a bit more modest than some other names discussed at 10.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.8 assists, but the Gators would love his incredible rebounding rates and the physical upside he shows. This wouldn’t be someone who would be expected to come in and be an all-league player right away but he’d be someone who could play a role right away while the Gators hope his upside hits and he becomes a top forward in the SEC. 


Zeke Mayo 

South Dakota State


Coming off an NCAA Tournament run with South Dakota State, Zeke Mayo is going to be a hot name that the Gators could look at to fill the Zyon Pullin role at point guard. At 6’4” and 185 pounds he’s got great size for the lead guard position–something the Gators have valued, and he has played in a winning program at South Dakota State. Last year he averaged 18.8 points and 3.5 assists, and his talents were on full display last week in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament where he scored 19 points and added 4 assists against an Iowa State defense that’s arguably the best in the country. When you look at Mayo’s resume of high production for multiple years, positional size, shooting ability (a career 39% from three on 6 attempts per game), and a winning pedigree–he checks a ton of boxes and this is the kind of player the Gators should go all out for.

Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @ericfawcett_.