Florida’s busy recruiting weekend got even busier with the addition of one more key visitor–forward Alex Fudge who spent his freshman season at LSU.
On Thursday the Gators saw Belmont transfer Will Richard coming to campus and on Saturday it was known that Bradley transfer Terry Roberts would be coming as well. Florida got an additional boost when Alex Fudge joined the list, getting spotted at a Gators baseball game before he messaged several media members telling them he was on campus.
Fudge’s name may be familiar to you as Florida was heavily recruiting him out of high school from nearby Jacksonville. The Gators were considered to be one of the leaders for his services but ultimately Fudge ended up at LSU, who were never considered to be the leaders until Fudge made the announcement that he’d be attending there.
In his freshman season at LSU Fudge was a key bench piece for much of the non-conference portion of the season but when SEC play began his minutes started to dwindle and he finished the season with “DNP-Coach’s Decisions” and exclusively garbage time minutes in the last 10 times. There were a few reasons for his decline in minutes, many of which are simply related to a young player that was still developing in his ability to contribute at the highest level of college basketball. LSU, a defense-first squad, ran a fairly complex defensive scheme with a lot of detailed off-ball switching and Fudge was often a step behind as he learned the rotations. Even when he became comfortable with the scheme he was still in a tough spot positionally given the roster make-up with the Tigers. The long, 6’8” Fudge is a forward that is best at the small forward or power forward spot and at LSU those positions were made up by Tari Eason, one of the best players in college basketball last season who is off to be a first round pick in the NBA Draft, Darius Days, a savvy veteran and the heart and soul of LSU basketball, and Mwani Wilkinson, a trusted defensive cornerstone that Will Wade didn’t like taking off the floor. It was essentially a battle for backup forward minutes with Fudge and freshman Brandon Murray who was more of an offensive threat for a team that desperately needed points and Murray ended up winning out for more of those minutes.
Ultimately Fudge finished the season averaging 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds on the season.
Even though he wasn’t awfully productive, he is still a high-pedigree player that has many teams interested. Fudge is 6’8” with extremely long arms, and while at LSU he was used in a defensive role in high school he was known as a ball handler and shot maker that was an offensive threat. Oftentimes these long, athletic wings take time to develop in college and it could very well be Fudge’s second team in college that gets to see him realize all of his talents.
Fudge was ranked 47th in the 2021 class and between his stellar high school career and his physical gifts he could very well be set up for a breakout season, no matter where he goes.
Long, athletic wings were not a priority at Florida under the previous regime but quickly we are seeing Todd Golden attack that player archetype with several of his offers and most recently with Will Richard and now Alex Fudge getting on campus for visits. Given that Fudge is from Jacksonville and was recruited by the Gators out of high school this won’t be his first visit to campus and that means this trip will be all about relationship building and what the Gators can bring to his development.
With Anthony Duruji going pro and Phlandrous Fleming graduating the Gators have a lot of minutes available at the three and four positions and Fudge will likely be sold on a role next to Kowacie Reeves, a similarly long and athletic shot maker. Fudge paired with Reeves would make for a combination of length and talent and the forward positions that the Gators haven’t had recently and you can see why Golden is going so hard after Fudge.
It’s early in his recruitment but the other teams considered to be in the mix for Fudge are Texas A&M, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Marquette. It’s unknown whether or not he has set up any more visits and with Florida getting the first and being close to home they should have a great shot at landing the high-upside Fudge.