Gators In Final Two Schools For Zyon Pullin

With the Gators in need of a playmaker in the backcourt they now find themselves in a high-stakes recruitment for arguably the best player remaining in the transfer portal. 

Zyon Pullin just completed his senior season at UC Riverside where he posted gigantic numbers averaging 18.3 points, 4.2 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game. Standing at 6’4” Pullin has excellent size for the point guard position and he has proven he can shoulder a massive offensive load. Only St. Louis’ Yuri Collins ran more pick and rolls last year than Pullin (per Synergy), though Pullin had many more isolation possessions. This kind of heavy usage is exactly what Todd Golden mentioned that he was looking for in the transfer portal so it made perfect sense when the Gators made Pullin a priority. 


When it comes to Pullin’s decision the importance can’t be overstated for Florida. Talent has largely been depleted from the transfer portal and if the Gators don’t land Pullin there aren’t many proven players or much else available that would drastically change perception of this team.


Riley Kugel is expected to have the ball in his hands a lot and will be looking to demonstrate his playmaking abilities in addition to the scoring punch he showed over the last month of the season–so even if he’s not listed as a point guard, he’ll have plenty of primary ball handling duties. Iona transfer Walter Clayton played plenty of minutes at the point last season, though his skill set is best away from the ball where he can be a catch and shoot threat. It’s apparent the Gators need another backcourt option that can provide some electricity and Pullin appears to be that guy. 


Last week Pullin announced a final five list that included Florida, Gonzaga, LSU, Michigan, and Xavier. At first, it was considered to be Florida and Michigan that were in the lead. Michigan has had a somewhat tumultuous offseason where their ability to be competitive in NIL has been questioned, making the Gators a favorite in the recruitment.


Then, on June 5th, ESPN reported that Pullin was down to two schools–Florida and LSU. LSU wasn’t considered to be a leader earlier in the recruitment but have made a considerable push since, feeling the pressure of a disappointing season in year one of the Matt McMahon era. 


Sources say Pullin will announce his decision by the end of this weekend, though he hasn’t set an official date.


Florida is the heavy favorite in the recruitment based on a mix of role, style of play, NIL, and a relationship that Todd Golden has with Pullin’s coach at UC Riverside Mike Magpayo who worked together at Columbia.


If the Gators were to land Pullin they’d have a significant piece to help them improve drastically from their 139th ranked offense a year ago. If Pullin starts he’d be able to take the role of distributor, using his length to make any pass on the floor to find his teammates in scoring positions. If he comes off the bench, he could be the kind of spark plug offensive piece that would bring scoring in bunches.


Look for Pullin to make his announcement in the upcoming few days.

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_.