Florida Looking At Different Ways To Round Out Roster

With the key pieces in place for the 2024-25 season the Florida Gators will now be looking to get a little bit more creative with how they fill their final two scholarships.

While there are still plenty of players remaining in the transfer portal, much of the top talent has already been picked, and the remaining players that would be impactful at the high-major level are going to command more from an NIL standpoint due to scarcity. Additionally, Florida has already landed and returned enough players that command healthy minutes that there isn’t going to be a role available that will entice someone looking for primary touches. For this reason the Gators are looking at some different avenues to fill their final spots, meaning a player could be coming relatively out of nowhere.


Florida did miss on a big-name 2024 prospect they were hoping to bring in and make a splash–guard Kasparas Jakucionis. The 14th ranked player in the class of 2024, Jakucionis is a 6’6” point guard from Lithuania who is currently playing in the FC Barcelona system–one of the top systems at developing players in the world. Florida was thought to be in a good place here but Illinois came in late and ended up winning the recruitment, and the Gators will miss out on someone with both huge upside and the ability to play a role right away. While the Gators didn’t end up on the right side of this recruitment, it points to a way that the staff is looking to recruit Europe. Last year the Gators grabbed Kajus Kublickas from Zalgiris’s development system, another top European program, and it’s clear they are looking for players with a high pedigree overseas. 


Another European player the Gators are looking at is guard Urban Klavzar. Klavzar is a 6’1” point guard, which makes sense given that Todd Golden said in a press conference that he would be looking for a young ball handler. Klavzar is Slovenian, and made waves in the basketball world when he made his professional debut for Real Madrid in 2021 at the age of 16. If that story sounds familiar, it could be that Real Madrid has already had one major success story with a Slovenian player coming to join their team as a teenager–Luka Doncic. Klavzar doesn’t appear to be quite on the same trajectory, however, and he ended up moving to Murcia–a different club team in Spain. They ended up assigning him to their affiliate in the LEB Oro, the second division in Spain, where he has been able to play a much bigger role. Klavzar’s professional experience makes him extremely polished, and he’s now 20 years old meaning he’d enter college as an older player that wouldn’t need as much refinement. Keep an eye on this name as he is someone who could bring some needed ball handling chops to Florida’s backcourt.


In the search for a young ball handler to round out the backcourt, the Gators also seem willing to look at getting a class of 2025 player to reclassify. Keyshuan Tillery is a name that’s been attached to the Gators as someone who is currently slated to come to college in 2025 but could reclassify and enter this upcoming fall. A 4-star recruit from New Hampshire he has interest from a lot of the mid-major schools in New England, as well as serious interest from Syracuse. At 6’0” and 185 pounds he doesn’t have great size but scouts love his feel for the game and ability to play in transition, and Florida will try to sell him on the chance to get a guaranteed spot in a power league right away. This would appear to be a true development play and not insurance for a backcourt that doesn’t have proven ball handlers, as reclassified point guards do not have a great history of success at the highest level of the sport. While Tillery has been slowly rising in the eyes of evaluators he still isn’t someone that would be expected to contribute right away, but it’s still a program piece the Gators could be looking to add.


In terms of bringing in some ball handling insurance to Florida’s backcourt, the staff is also getting creative by reportedly reaching out to some top players at the USPORTS level–the top university division in Canada. There isn’t a lot of history of USPORTS players transferring to the D1 level, but there certainly is a lot of history of teams going to Canada to play exhibitions and losing handily. There are lots of experienced players in Canada that could contribute right away in the NCAA, and the Gators could look to bring in a veteran to shore up their ball handling. 


Florida will also be keeping an eye on the FIBA European Under-20 Championships happening the first week of July in hopes of seeing a gem they would like to add. Kajus Kublickas will also be there competing for his home Lithuania.

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_.