Florida is yet to land a commitment in the 2022 class and the trend continues to be players waiting into later in the cycle to commit than what we have seen in the history of college basketball, but they’ll hope to kick it off soon, perhaps with a key target in the frontcourt.
Roebuck, South Carolina native Noah Clowney is one of the top players on Florida’s board right now, a 6’9” forward that plays the game with physicality and toughness while mixing in enough skill and touch to see a player that might explode at the college level. Clowney hasn’t spent the entirety of his time in high school as a big time target–he’s a guy that has had an outstanding spring and summer ball circuit that elevated him to top-100 status. Currently he’s the 73rd ranked player in the class, though with the current trajectory he’s on it stands to reason that he’ll end up even higher on the list.
South Carolina has been a state the Gators have started recruiting harder as of late, though they haven’t yet landed any of their targets. They would love for Clowney to be the first, and perhaps lead to many more.
Clowney attends Dorman High School, a place that may sound a bit familiar to you. That is the high school where long time Florida target PJ Hall went (as well as his sister, Gators volleyball star Thayer Hall), though the Gators didn’t end up taking him as they instead chose Osayi Osifo. Luckily, that decision doesn’t seem to have hurt the Gators as they have appeared to have had no problem making inroads with a couple of Dorman products since.
One of the most sought after player archetypes in college basketball right now is the big man that can comfortably play the four or five position and both protect the rim and rebound while also having the mobility to switch out onto guards or handle skilled post players that can take it on the perimeter and attack. Clowney projects to be that style of player. For that reason, Florida is among some high level programs vying for his services.
His list of final four schools that he released consisted of Indiana, Florida, Virginia Tech, and Alabama.
I listed them in that order as that will be the order he’ll be taking his final official visits, starting with Indiana at the end of August and wrapping up with Alabama near the end of September.
Clowney also made it known that he’ll likely take some time after the final visit to process all the information, weigh the pros and cons, and then likely announce near the first part of November.
Right now there isn’t a clear leader. Alabama may have somewhat of an edge as the team among the four that has done best with recruiting recently and the team that has the final visit, though they have a number of bigs on their roster and several high level bigs on their recruiting board meaning that Clowney might not see himself as a priority.
In the Mike White era the development of bigs hasn’t gone particularly well, something that has the potential to be an issue, though it hasn’t appeared to be in recent classes. While they haven’t recruited and developed these players Kerry Blackshear and Colin Castleton have been productive, something that may cover up some of the other misses they have had.
Following the 2021-22 season, Florida’s frontcourt is about to be a lot thinner. Colin Castleton will almost certainly go pro after being close to making that call this summer, and Anthony Duruji (who will be in his fifth year of college) is expected to graduate even though he could technically return after the last year of basketball didn’t count towards players’ eligibility. If Keyontae Johnson is cleared and able to play basketball and is at all like he was prior to November 2020, he’ll almost certainly go pro as well. Clowney looks physically ready to compete in college right away, and the possibility for minutes is something the Gators could possibly sell.
His visit is set for September 3rd, and we should have more insight following that day.