Under Mike White the Gators have been a team active in the transfer market, one of the rare high major teams that has completed the holy trinity of transfer acquisition by taking traditional transfers, graduate transfers, and junior college transfers.
Looking towards 2020-21, that isn’t going to change. For starters, after sitting out their redshirt transfers seasons Tyree Appleby and Anthony Duruji will be entering the mix, both players who had productive careers at Cleveland State and Louisiana Tech before heading to Gainesville. Additionally, the Gators have JUCO forward Osayi Osifo joining the squad as an instantly eligible third year player.
Will those be the only transfers on the roster next year? In all likelihood—no.
The number of scholarships that will be available to the Gators in 2020-21 isn’t totally known yet. For sure right now is that the Gators are opening up three scholarships with the graduation of Kerry Blackshear Jr. as well as the departures of Gorjok Gak and Dontay Bassett. Those spots are set to be filled by Osifo as well as the two high school recruits in Samson Ruzhentsev and Niels Lane.
What’s not known is which of Scottie Lewis, Keyontae Johnson, and Andrew Nembhard will go pro. The purpose of this article isn’t to get into the nitty gritty of which of these players will go pro, but for the sake of the transfer discussion we kind of need to know how many scholarships will be available.
According to sources, as well as my gut feel, Lewis will be gone for sure, and it’s likely one of Johnson and Nembhard will be gone too, which a chance it’s all of the above. While we can’t know for sure, it’s almost certain at least one of them will go to the NBA Draft and it’s likely it’s two of them.
That means the Gators have scholarships to play with, and it means they are going to be active in the transfer market once again.
Even though the season was only ended recently the transfer portal is already bumping with over 400 players entered in looking for a new home, and that means it’s time to look at who the Gators might be interested in.
For starters let’s look at the most sought after style of transfer—the graduate transfer. The Gators have obviously had great success with graduate transfers Canyon Barry, Egor Koulechov, and Kerry Blackshear Jr. recently and they have already put out the feelers on at least one fifth-year player.
The player I’m speaking of is Kevin Marfo, a 6’8”, 245 pound forward whose name you’ll definitely be hearing a lot of as a lot of high major teams are interested. The reason why? He was one of, if not the best rebounders in the country last season ranking 1st nationally in defensive rebound rate and 2nd in offensive rebound rate. Mind you, that number isn’t adjusted for quality of competition and he did it in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, but in his lone game against high major competition (Miami) he had 13 boards. Rebounding hasn’t been a strength for the Gators recently so you can see why they’d be interested in Marfo, who also brings defensive toughness though he is somewhat limited offensively.
In terms of players the Gators might be interested in but haven’t reached out to, there are a few. First, perhaps they’d want to get in touch with Matthew Moyer who they offered last offseason when he was a true transfer. Moyer was a former 4-star recruit who went to Syracuse before transferring to Vanderbilt last season, and it appears things didn’t work out as after sitting the year due to transfer rules his name is back in the portal. He’s a 6’8” wing with great length, and while he doesn’t have great offensive instincts the Gators could be extremely slim at the wings if Lewis and Johnson were to both leave.
Another name to potentially watch out for is 6’5” shooter Jonah Antonio who spent an injury-riddled year at UNLV last season. Prior to last season he spent a year in junior college where Florida offered him, and there is a chance they could be looking to add length and shooting on the wing that Antonio could provide.
If the Gators want to bring in a graduate transfer center and they don’t land Marfo an interesting name would be the Swedish monster Mattias Markusson, a 7’3”, 261 behemoth who most recently played at Loyola-Marymount. He wasn’t able to play last year but he was a solid big in 2018-19 and at his size there is certain to be some intrigue to adding him. The Gators have Florida State on their schedule next year who is going to roll out similar sized centers and the Gators could use a mountain like Markusson in that matchup, so I’d be interested if the Gators try to get into the running for him.
It’s not just the graduate transfer market the Gators are dabbling in as they also have gotten some true transfer offers out, starting with a freshman they saw earlier in the season. Florida’s game against Long Beach State was a blowout, but a 6’11” freshman named Joshua Morgan caught their eye and when he went into the portal the Gators got him an offer. He’s quite slim at 195 pounds but in a transfer year he’d definitely bulk up, and his ability to move his feet at 6’11” would largely be why the Gators were interested. He also found a way to grab 7 rebounds in 13 minutes against the Gators and that’s a definite way to get the attention of a coaching staff.
Florida also got an offer out to Landers Nolley, currently the best true transfer candidate on the market. The reason he is so sought after right now is that he’s a 6’5” wing that scored 15 points in the ACC last year, and he didn’t for…wait for it…Virginia Tech. This is, of course, quite interesting considering the Gators have had quite the pipeline of talent from Virginia Tech recently with Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Hudson, and Kerry Blackshear Jr., and they would welcome Nolley coming into town. He’s a skilled offensive player at a premium position and he’ll have tons of offers and I’d definitely expect the Gators to pursue him hard.
Another name to watch will be Elias King from Mississippi State. King, a 6’7” wing, was the 122nd ranked player in the 2019 class and held an offer from Florida, as well as from multiple other SEC schools. As a freshman he only appeared in 6 games and clearly something didn’t jive with him and the Bulldogs and if the Gators liked what they saw when they were recruiting him there is definitely a chance they’d want to land him the second time around. Once again, interest in King would be related to both his pedigree as a high-level high school recruit as well as his length, and in modern basketball you simply can’t have enough wings. He’ll have plenty of opportunities around the country and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the Gators gave him an offer.
The transfer portal is changing rapidly every day and I’m sure the Gators will have more offers out soon. This is just an early look, and I’ll definitely have more updates as more information comes out. Florida is definitely going to be active when it comes to true transfers and graduate transfers and it will be interesting to see who they can add to what’s a nice looking core moving forward.