Pair Of Gator Transfers Find New Homes

A pair of former Gators have officially found homes as Dontay Bassett chose to attend Weber State while Gorjok Gak is heading to Cal Baptist. As immediately eligible graduate transfers the pair had multiple options as coaches are always trying to get experience to their rosters and get older and the two Gators gave them that opportunity.

Weber State, located in Ogden, Utah, was a team that was inexperienced at the center spot last year primarily starting a freshman and rotating in a sophomore. This duo struggled to rebound the ball and was occasionally soft when it came to protecting the hoop and Dontay Bassett will bring the toughness that coach Randy Rahe is looking for. The Wildcats play a good bit of zone, something that Bassett will have to get used to after playing for Florida who only occasionally mixes it in, but he should be well-suited to that style of defense with his basketball IQ and ability to read plays. Weber State finished 9th in the Big Sky conference and are losing a few key players so this team likely won’t be competing for a league title and NCAA Tournament berth, so this play for Bassett was likely based on the opportunity to play a lot of minutes.

For Gorjok Gak, he’s off to one of the newest division one programs in the country in Cal Baptist, a school located in beautiful Riverside California who only made the jump to D-I in 2018. Despite being brand new to D-I they have competed extremely well in the Western Athletic Conference, finishing 5th in their first year and 2nd in this season. The WAC was one of the leagues who was yet to start their conference tournament when everything was cancelled and it’s unlikely that Cal Baptist would have been able to beat a really good New Mexico State team, but as the 2 seed it wasn’t at all unlikely that they could have made the Big Dance this season. Unfortunately, a lot of their success this season was due to the fact they had 7 seniors on the roster and that means they are losing a ton of talent. Fortunately for Gak, that means a ton of minutes are available. 3 of their top 4 minute getters in the frontcourt are gone, including their starting center, so Gak will have the chance to compete for a big role. Considering he was never able to really get his footing in Gainesville and play a regular role it’s likely that playing time played largely into his decision and he should have plenty of opportunity here. Cal Baptist is one of the highest-volume three-point shooting teams in the country so Gak’s role will be mostly as a rebounder and defender, but that may be the right role they have defined for him.

While we’re talking about former Gators who have transferred out, here is an update on some familiar names.

Michael Okauru was, frankly surprisingly, awarded a waiver to get instantly eligible this season at UNC Wilmington and played 28 minutes a game averaging 9.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Obviously this is a really productive season for him and it looks like he found his level in college hoops. The Seahawks weren’t a good team at all going 10-22 and finishing 9th in the Colonial Athletic Association but they didn’t have a single senior on the roster so they could bounce back in a big way next year.

Deaundrae Ballard spent this year sitting out at South Alabama, a team that did really well in the Sun Belt conference this season. They have 7 seniors so their team is going to look a lot different in a year but they also brought in some other really talented sit out transfers alongside Ballard so they could be a team to watch next season.

Watching Dayton dominate college basketball meant seeing Chase Johnson play some great basketball early in the season but ultimately his concussion issues flared up again and he wasn’t able to play for the full season. His situation was already incredibly sad and is made even worse by the fact he wasn’t able to fully take part in the monumental Dayton season. We wish him all the best as he journeys toward complete health.

Speaking of Florida transfers on good teams, Isaiah Stokes was sitting out for his home Memphis Tigers this year. Next season Stokes is going to be jostling with some 5-star recruits for minutes but if he can keep his weight down and use some of the experience he has gained so far in his college basketball journey he could factor into the mix there.

One last name to update you on is Eric Hester who last played for the Gators in the 2016-17 season. After his time in Gainesville he transferred to Akron and sat out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules. However, for an unknown reason he never suited up for the Zips in the 2018-19 season. At the end of that year he announced he was transferring to Prairie View A&M, but for whatever reason didn’t end up playing there. This brings us to last year, where in his fourth year of postsecondary he was able to use his second year of eligibility for a JUCO, Tallahassee Community College. He had a nice year for them averaging 9 points, 2 assists, and 3 rebounds, all while shooting a ridiculous 47% from three. Now, it looks like he is going to end up heading to Prairie View A&M, and we wish him the best now that he’s back to D-I.

Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on 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 @Efawcett7.