When Todd Golden came to Florida he was an open book when it came to what his recruiting strategy was going to be, and it centered around two different strategies.
Firstly, he was going to go after elite, NBA-level talent at the top of the recruiting rankings, players he thought he could lure to the Florida basketball brand. So far he has held true to that strategy, aggressively pursuing multiple top-50 players in the 2024 class.
Secondly, he wanted to tap into international recruiting in a way that Florida, and the SEC on the whole, has largely neglected. His first move was to take a flyer on Aleks Szymczyk, a big man from Bavaria who Golden and his staff hope can be an interior presence who can also step out to the three-point line and knock down shots.
Florida is now looking at another international option, this time Alex Condon from Australia.
Condon is an interesting player–an athlete who only recently shifted his focus full time to basketball after splitting his time between hoops and a different sport–Australian Rules Football. Born to a professional “footy” player in Damien Condon, Alex was destined to give the game a shot and he was very good. As recently as a few months ago, before he committed fully to basketball, he was projected to go in the first 10 picks of the Australian Football League (the highest league in the sport) draft. In fact, he only recently made his full commitment to basketball in order for AFL teams to know not to draft him.
If you aren’t familiar with “Aussie Rules,” Australian Rules Football is a game that’s in some ways similar to rugby, but it’s faster, more dynamic, and arguably even more physical as there are massive hits from all angles. Players who play footy need to be athletic, fast, and incredibly tough, and Condon has brought those abilities to the basketball court.
Recent measurements have Condon listed between 6’8” and 6’11”, so you can pencil him in somewhere in that range. Right now he is quite thin (listed at 176 pounds a year ago–though he is a bit bigger now) which is a product of playing Australian Rules Football–a sport that requires constantly sprinting. However, if you think that because he’s thin he isn’t tough–think again. There are a number of clips from his footy career that show him relentlessly sprinting into massive collisions and getting up immediately, and coming from a sport known for unrelenting violence–toughness should never be an issue for him.
When it comes to the basketball film, it’s clear he is a project with lots to learn. The dribble looks loose, the jumper is shaky, and he is shooting 38% from the free throw line in his current season. Defensively his angles aren’t fantastic, and he struggled to guard in certain matchups.
While he looks far from a day one starter at the high major level, there are definite tools. At 6’9”-ish (we’ll go with that due to the various listed heights) he runs like a gazelle and can punish defenses in transition, and that speed also allows him to quickly get back in transition after attacking the offensive glass. He’s not a supremely explosive athlete but he’s got some vertical pop that you can see on some of the rebounds he high points. Right now the biggest strength for Condon is his motor and toughness as a lanky 6’9” forward. He plays the game hard, taking pride on the defensive end and fighting for every rebound. There are going to be people that look at a 6’9”, skinny forward and think he’s going to simply be a stretch four but that’s the exact opposite for Condon who wants to be in the action around the rim and embrace contact.
Golden certainly has some interest as Condon’s visit will be of the official variety.
Right now there isn’t a lot of high level interest for Condon but he is getting looks from Utah and St. Mary’s, with St. Mary’s being a school known for having their finger on the pulse of Australian recruiting.
If the Gators were to take Condon it would be as a project that they wouldn’t rely on to play minutes right away. Considering the way that the Gators plan on attacking the portal right away they won’t necessarily be looking for 2023 players that can contribute right away, and it makes some strategic sense that the Gators would look at a project in 2023 as they think they can land players in 2024 that can play right away.
No timeline has been given for a decision Condon could make, and it’s unknown if the Gators would take him this weekend should he want to commit.