Florida fans can breathe a sigh of relief as on Wednesday Andrew Nembhard announced via Twitter that he would be returning to Gainesville for his sophomore season.
Utilizing the NCAA’s new rules that allow a player to declare for the draft and withdraw Nembhard was able to attend the G League Combine as well as take part in numerous individual workouts for NBA teams. This gave him a chance to glean information and gain feedback about his game allowing him to make the decision of whether or not to return to school.
What teams loved about Nembhard’s game was his ability to pass the ball and put his teammates in the best possible position to succeed. His ability to see plays develop and pass the ball on time and on target is something you don’t always see from young players and it’s something that makes Nembhard stand out from just about any guard in college basketball.
The negative things surrounding Nembhard’s game mostly revolve around his athleticism and individual scoring ability. So often NBA teams nowadays are building their teams around athleticism and physical gifts and Nembhard doesn’t fit into that mold as he is a player that uses his basketball IQ and craftiness to overcome some of his athletic limitations. Unfortunately most of the combine activities are geared towards raw athleticism and don’t factor in savvy and for that reason Nembhard really wasn’t able to shine.
Offensive upside was another issue some teams had with Nembhard as there were some questions about his ability to individually create and hit shots. As a pass-first point guard Nembhard isn’t out there trying to fill it up himself but in the NBA teams will take away his passing angles and dare him to score one-on-one and right now he doesn’t quite possess those abilities.
With that feedback in mind Nembhard knows exactly what to work on and I’m sure those things will be the focus as he returns to Gainesville. Strength, speed, and athleticism can be improved and he’ll have the chance to do that under strength and conditioning coach Preston Greene. The individual offensive skill development can happen under the coaching staff and the large amount of minutes he’ll play this upcoming season will also give him the chances he needs to build confidence.
After choosing to go through this process I think we can assume that Nembhard is planning to go pro after this upcoming season. There were definitely some teams intrigued with his skill set and with another year of development under his belt it’s my belief he’ll head to draft. Florida’s roster is looking full of talent this season and Nembhard will have the chance to really show his abilities and put up some good numbers and that should all work together to help him get decent draft position.
For the Gators the news of Nembhard’s return is massive. Losing your point guard is always a major challenge and even though Tre Mann and Ques Glover are coming to town it wouldn’t be as safe of a bet as a returning Nembhard who already knows the offensive and defensive schemes. Nembhard could very well be the best passer in college basketball and having that guy in Gainesville will make Coach White extremely happy.
In other news, we’re still waiting on the decision of Kerry Blackshear of whether or not he’ll go pro. We should know shortly and if he decides he’s coming back to college then let the official Gator recruitment begin.