Center Tyrese Samuel Commits To Florida

The Gators once again added to their frontcourt on Sunday night as it was announced that Seton Hall center Tyrese Samuel would be taking his talents to Gainesville.


Florida has already grabbed commitments from 6’8” Yale post EJ Jarvis and freshman 7’1” center Micah Handlogten and the addition of Samuel should round out the frontcourt alongside incoming freshmen Thomas Haugh and Alex Condon, and returning center Aleks Szymczyk. 


While the Gators are betting on the upside and ability to adapt with mid-major transfers EJ Jarvis and Micah Handlogten, Tyrese Samuel provides proven high-major production–something that should seamlessly translate to the SEC. This past season at Seton Hall Samuel averaged 11.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks. 


Offensively Samuel excels in the pick and roll game where he can wipe a guard out with a physical screen before exploding towards the rim to catch a lob. He’s also extremely active on the offensive glass and around the paint where he is always available to receive a drop off pass before dunking with authority. Samuel isn’t a big-time post up player–though that might be just what Florida’s coaching staff is looking for. With the return of Riley Kugel and Will Richard and the commitment of elite shooter Walter Clayton the Gators might not want to bog their offense down with post ups–and a low usage, efficient lob finisher like Samuel could be just what the doctor ordered.


There has been some discussion about Samuel wanting to play some power forward minutes, perhaps giving himself an improved chance at a pro career following his next college year which will be his final. Samuel has taken 134 threes in his four years of college, though he has only hit 29% of them so far. Todd Golden liked to play two centers at the same time at San Francisco, and it’s entirely possible he wants to get back to that style of play and will perhaps play Samuel and Micah Handlogten together at times. 


More than his pick and roll, lob catching, and offensive rebounding, Samuel is known for his defense. At 6’10” and 235 pounds he has the size and bulk to hang with physical centers–something that the Big East has in abundance and also something you see in the SEC. What makes Samuel special is that in addition to having the size to compete down low, he excels at switching onto guards and gliding side to side alongside smaller players. He is shockingly light on his feet for someone so capable of physical interior play, and this allows defensive versatility that will make Florida’s coaching staff ecstatic. 


It’s impossible to say that any player in the transfer portal is a sure thing, but Samuel should be much more predictable than most players that the Gators have pursued in the portal. When you get a mid-major transfer you’re gambling on their abilities translating to the highest level–and that doesn’t happen a majority of the time. However, with a four year Big East player like Samuel there are no questions about his ability to hang at the high-major level. Samuel should be able to defend, rebound, and finish lobs for the Gators next year, doing exactly what he has proven he can do for Seton Hall.


Ultimately, Tyrese Samuel chose the Gators over Wake Forest.

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_.