While Kerry Blackshear remains the priority for the Gators’ coaching staff they’re still doing their best to cover their bases by staying in touch with some of the best graduate transfers available. Many of those backup plans have already committed elsewhere but an interesting name entered the portal this past week in Tyler Scanlon from Boston University and the Gators were quick to get in touch.
Scanlon, a 6’7”, 215 pound forward originally from Virginia averaged 13.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game last season while also chipping in 1.4 steals on defense. The Boston University Terriers struggled last season at 15-18 but it should be noted that they were one of the youngest teams in college basketball last season (339th in experience according to KenPom) so their lack of success shouldn’t be placed on the shoulders of Scanlon.
It wasn’t long after he entered the transfer portal that Scanlon heard from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Arkansas, and Florida and right now the buzz is that Illinois is in the lead. They’ve got space open and have made Scanlon a priority while from a Gators standpoint he’s still plan B and that isn’t the greatest recruiting pitch to start off with.
Even though the Gators can’t make him a priority right now it will be interesting to see if the chance to play for an SEC contender will make him wait around to see what happens with Blackshear. Florida has minutes available at the backup three and four spots, the positions Scanlon plays, and he could fit really well into the Gators’ offensive scheme.
If Blackshear decides to attend somewhere other than Florida and the Gators were able to land Scanlon what could he bring?
Let’s start with his shooting. He only shot 34.2% from three last season as a redshirt-junior but I think he’s a much better shooter than that number would suggest and I think his inexperienced teammates not running their offense with much fluidity lead to Scanlon needing to take a lot of tough late-clock threes. As a redshirt-sophomore he shot 39.7% from three and as a redshirt-freshman he shot 40.9% so I think he’s actually closer to a 40% 3-point shooter than he is to 34% and if he were to play for the Gators the open looks he would likely get should lead to a solid conversion rate.
What I like about Scanlon’s game is that he actually has tremendous ball skills for a forward. While not a great athlete his first step is extremely deceptive and he was beating players with ease off the bounce in the games I watched. Yes, I know the Patriot League is drastically different from the SEC but the way he was able to constantly get into the paint definitely shows some potential. A lot of his dribble drives were off straight isolation and while he likely wouldn’t be able to replicate that at the power five level a ton I still think he would be excellent at attacking closeouts.
Once he gets going towards the hoop he isn’t a player that gets tunnel vision as he’s an excellent passer that puts his teammates in positions to succeed. Even though he was a forward he lead his team in assists and his 18.5% assist rate would be easily the second best on the Gators behind Andrew Nembhard. Florida lacked playmaking outside of Nembhard last year and having a ball handler like Scanlon who can make reads and deliver the proper pass would be a luxury. Scanlon was sneakily in the 78th percentile of college basketball when it came to pick and role derived offense (both his own shots and assisted shots out of the pick and role) and once again I say, for a forward on a young team that is extremely impressive.
One of the things that makes Scanlon so deadly in pick and roll settings in addition to his passing ability is the threat of his pull up jumper. Scanlon was one of the best shooters off the dribble in college basketball last season at 46.4%, pressuring defenses every time he sat behind a screen. His ability to hit jumpers off the bounce also offers incredible value in late clock situations, an area Florida struggled in last season.
Defensively Scanlon isn’t a major impact player and occasionally struggles on that end against more athletic players on the wing or stronger players on the inside. While I think Scanlon’s offensive game would translate to the power five level his defense is a bit of a concern. He’s also not a great rebounder and doesn’t block shots which could hurt his ability to play the four against some matchups.
Blackshear is still the priority for Florida and there’s a chance the Gators never really get in a good position with Scanlon if he decides to focus on one of the Big Ten programs that have made him more of a priority. However, if Scanlon is still available if Blackshear goes elsewhere I think he would be a great add for the Gators. The playmaking on the wing and the ability to shoot off the dribble would add some abilities where the Gators are currently a bit deficient and I’m a believer Scanlon’s offensive game will continue to be solid at the highest levels of college basketball. Scanlon might not be the number one priority right now but he could still be a tremendous add if the situation presents itself.