It’s far from a normal college basketball offseason but even though things aren’t going according to plan Florida’s coaching staff is still working hard on recruiting future Gators and we’re starting to see their 2021 board narrow to some key recruits. Here are some of the players to keep an eye on.
A 6’8” wing from Jacksonville, Alex Fudge is an explosive player who the Gators would love to land as they try to get back to controlling recruiting in the state of Florida. With Scottie Lewis and Keyontae Johnson almost certainly gone after this season there are going to be wing spots open the Gators will need to fill and Fudge would be perfect for that role. He has prototypical size and length for that position and brings scoring touch you don’t always see from athletic wing recruits at this age. Ranked 47th in 2021 the Gators will have to beat out some big time recruiters like Arizona State, Alabama, and Arkansas for his services. Considering Florida’s future need at the wing and the fact he’s an in-state kid, this is an important recruitment.
If you’re someone that loves fundamental, defensive basketball and players that fit a specific mold and role within the offense…Carter Whitt is not your guy.
Whitt is a thrillseeker on the court, stringing together flashy dribble moves and no look passes as he tries to dazzle onlookers. Needless to say this style of play hasn’t always endeared himself to everyone and some would suggest he’s a bit of a hot dog but when you look at the talent he brings to the table he’s not someone who should be ignored. His offensive instincts are off the chart and he can create shots for his teammates that a lot of high school guards wouldn’t see. There are definitely going to be times where a coach is going to need to reign him in but he brings a lot of offensive talent to the table and at 6’3” he’s got nice size for the point guard spot.
It’s not known if the Gators are a huge player in this recruitment but they’ve stayed in the mix so he’s a player worth keeping an eye on.
Mike White has always loved quick guards that can pressure opposing ball handlers and pester them for 94 feet and for that reason he’s got to really love Tyrese Hunter.
Hunter is the 86th ranked player in his class, a 6’1” point guard that is really impressive on the defensive end. Watching high school hoops you often see players that just want to put up shots or go one-on-one to showcase dribble moves and that style of play only makes Hunter stand out more because he’s the exact opposite player. He takes immense pride in locking down his opposing player and brings great energy to the defensive end. It’s hard not to leave watching Hunter without loving his game due to his hustle on the defensive end and you can see why Florida is so interested in him. They’re a program that wants to be built on defense and we didn’t see that last year. For them to get back to that identity they’re going to need players like Tyrese Hunter. The Gators are considered one of the leaders in this recruitment so you likely haven’t heard the last of him.
A bit lower in the recruiting rankings is Darius Johnson, the 216th ranked player in the class. Like Tyrese Hunter, Johnson is a point guard that’s known for his defense. Hunter is someone who is a bit quicker on his feet and Johnson is more physical, using a muscular frame to bully opposing players and knock them off driving lanes. Florida was a relatively early offer for Johnson at a time where he only had mid-major offers and since then he has been a high riser now holding interest from Alabama, Wake Forest, and Ole Miss. He might not be a priority for the Gators right now but depending on how many roster spots open up he could be someone they see as a program player that could contribute as an upperclassman.
It’s clear Florida sees landing a point guard as a priority in this class with multiple offers out to ball handlers and one of their major targets is 6’1” Rahsool Diggins.
Diggins is probably the most talented offensive player the Gators are after right now, likely the reason he’s also one of their highest rated targets currently ranked 54th in the class. While not particularly quick, Diggins uses a great collection of dribble moves and footwork to get into the paint with regularity and once he’s there he’s excellent at making the right pass or finishing on his own. Perhaps what Coach White loves most about Diggins is his ability to play off two feet in the paint, something conducive to under-control basketball that you don’t often see from young players and something that White preaches in practices.
His ability to get into the paint and score is something that the Gators would love to have but their going to be in tough as Diggins is from Philadelphia and is currently getting recruited by Villanova. It will be tough for the Gators to get the edge here but they’re going to do everything they can.
Another in-state target the Gators are after is Fort Lauderdale’s Wesley Cardet. A 6’6” wing known for having guard skills he’s an intriguing player on the offensive end. Playing point guard for his high school team at 6’6” makes for some crazy mismatches and even though he likely won’t be playing the same position in high school his ball handling abilities will still serve him well on the wing. Additionally, he’s an outstanding three-point shooter and for someone who is 6’6” that is a great skill to have. The Gators haven’t had a huge recruiting impact in south Florida recently and they’d love to improve that by landing someone like Cardet. He’d be a great impact to their wing depth and the ability to shoot would make him fit in any offensive situation. The Gators are in a good spot here but Alabama has been going after him harder than anybody and it appears they might be the team to beat.