Florida didn’t make the final 7 schools for transfer Mac McClung which could mean a couple of things. It could mean they didn’t offer what McClung was looking for (the chance to play the point immediately) or it could be that the Gators backed off, potentially because they don’t think they’ll have space on the roster.
The Gators currently have one open scholarship remaining and they have Andrew Nembhard and Tre Mann currently mulling their options of what could be next. Perhaps assuming that one of them will be back to fill the final scholarship is the bet the wise money is on but the fact they reached out to McClung might suggest they aren’t so sure either of Nembhard or Mann will be back. Coach White and his staff haven’t reached out to many transfers this season and have only really offered players they were extremely serious about (such as committed big man Colin Castleton) so the offer to McClung suggests there is probably at least some chance the Gators will have an open scholarship.
If the Gators do end having another open scholarship it’s worth knowing who could be out there for them to pursue. At this point of the offseason the transfer portal is…well, it’s pretty picked over to be honest, but there are still some quality options remaining and there have still been solid players that have left their team as recently as yesterday so you never know who might become available next. Even though there aren’t a bunch of slam-dunk SEC starters on the board Mike White has never been a coach to leave scholarships empty and it’s possible he’d look at veteran players who could fill rotation slots. The Gators have had an extremely young bench recently and bringing in mid-major vets to shore up the depth is an option.
If both Nembhard and Mann leave or an unexpected player departs, here are some of the potential players currently in the transfer portal that the Gators could pursue to fill the vacancy.
Mack is a 6’2” point guard who filled up the stat sheet last year averaging 12 points, 6.4 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game. Displaying tremendous vision he was one of the best passers in the country who can also get to the hoop and score. He would be a sit-one-play-two which, though it’s unknown if he’ll play out all his eligibility given the fact he had some NBA interest. Given his heavy production in the Big Ten you’d think his list of suitors would be longer but the knock on him is some off court issues including a traffic incident as well as an enigmatic “violation of team rules” suspension at Nebraska. The Gators haven’t generally been involved with players with any level of off the court problems but Mack’s great production makes him a name that has to be included in a list of players the Gators may look at.
Gaffney is an interesting player at 6’9” and 195 pounds who hardly got on the floor last season as a freshman for the Buckeyes but after a fantastic high school career it seems he has a lot of skill that wasn’t utilized. Florida was in the mix for Gaffney who was the 50th ranked player in the 2019 class and that relationship could help the Gators in potentially landing him—if he does return to college. His camp has made it known that they’ll be pursuing pro opportunities but given the fact that he appears in a miniscule amount of minutes in only 17 games for Ohio State the options may not really be there. Should he decide to return to the NCAA the Gators may be interested. He’s the exact style of player that White likes at the power forward spot and would bring skill and length to the position.
East Tennessee State
After Buccaneers coach Steve Forbes left to take the Wake Forest job Daivien Williamson was one of his former players to hit the portal with two years left to play. East Tennessee State has been one of the best mid-major teams in the country over the last two seasons and a large reason why has been Williamson’s play at the point guard position. Williamson has been a reliable outside shooter who is slippery off the dribble and it makes him a tough cover. His unselfish play has helped elevate a number of teammates succeed and as soon as he hit the portal a bunch of high major teams inquired. At only 6’2” and 165 pounds he definitely could stand to put some weight on during a redshirt year and any team who gets him is going to have reliable point guard play in the 2021-22 season.
East Tennessee State
Even more sought-after from East Tennessee State will be Bo Hodges who is a supreme athlete and at 6’5” and 210 pounds he’s physically ready to step into the high major ranks. The reason I had to put him behind Williamson is because he had an initial list of 7 teams that didn’t include the Gators, but he made the list fairly early and given that it’s a list as expansive as 7 teams I wouldn’t suspect he’d be closed to a call from Florida. He averaged 12.7 points and 5.8 rebounds while being an impactful defender and he’ll be certain to head to a power six. So far in college his jumper has been broken and he’s only a sit-one-play one but he’s certain to be impactful in his final year.
A small 6’0” freshman playing on a bad Holy Cross team the odds were stacked against Lowder to start his career but that didn’t stop him from having one of the best college debuts you’ll ever see. Despite his team being entirely outmatched on the road at Maryland, Lowder put on an absolute show scoring 24 points on 10-19 shooting and adding 5 assists. The rest of his season went quite well as he went on to average 14.1 points and 3.3 assists while shooting 42% from three until an injury cut his season short. He’s an undersized point guard but for him to be that productive as a freshman while being the focal point of an offense is extremely impressive and if the Gators are looking to gamble on a small, scoring guard this could be the guy. Plus, at Holy Cross he was playing for former Gator Brett Nelson who could put in a good word for Florida.