Florida’s first commitment in the 2020 class has come from an unexpected place as the Gators landed Osayi Osifo, a 6’8” forward from Texas playing for perennial junior college powerhouse Eastern Florida State College. After just completing his freshman year for them he’ll return for a sophomore campaign before then heading to Gainesville where he’ll have two years of D-1 hoops.
Osifo was a bit late coming to basketball, only starting to play the game when he was midway through high school. Because of that he was far from a polished player through his junior and senior seasons and that made for a light recruitment. Options were looking limited until Eastern Florida State College, one of the big boys of junior college basketball, decided to take a chance on the raw athleticism he possessed.
Only averaging 4.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 8.7 minutes per game he was a seldom-used weapon on the bench who went through some stretches hardly seeing the floor as he was getting his body healthy and learning the game. Eastern Florida was a deep team with some experienced players getting the nod over him in a lot of scenarios but that wasn’t enough to keep Osifo hidden as Power Five teams like the Gators swooped in to try to land his services upon seeing his length and athleticism.
Ultimately Osifo chose the Gators over Georgia, Missouri, Xavier, and Georgetown. Florida Gulf Coast was one of the first teams to offer him and recently there was a lot of buzz that Kansas was sniffing around him.
As a player Osifo is a bit of work in progress right now. In terms of what he did in his role at Eastern Florida this year he was an active big man who darted around the paint getting his hands on balls defensively and dunking everything around the rim on offense. Extremely long (said to have a 7’1” wingspan) he was elite length and the way he dunks the basketball with such ease speaks to his athleticism. While that’s where he’s at as a player right now he’s still learning the game and his trajectory could go in a number of different ways. He wasn’t a 3-point shooter and struggled from the free throw line so there is work to be done there as well.
This is a rare scenario for the Gators as they get a JUCO transfer who is still a year away from getting to campus. They can help guide his development between now and next season to see if he can develop fundamentals to surround his jaw-dropping athleticism and if so they could have an interesting player on their hands. It’s clear athleticism has been a focus of Coach White in the last two recruiting cycles and it seems he didn’t want to miss out on the physical abilities of Osifo.
There is a very common trend amongst people I’ve spoken to that know Osifo. Everyone talks of how extremely polite he is and how he is noticeably respectful and fun to be around. It seems everyone who has come into contact with him is routing for him and that speaks to a very high character young man. For the Gators to go hunting in the JUCO ranks it makes sense to go after a high character player with spectacular athleticism and those two traits are what could make for a hidden gem. Justin Leon was a high character JUCO transfer that worked out for the Gators and Osayi Osifo could be next.