Revisiting Preseason Transfer Projections

For those of you that have been reading Gator Country for years, you’ll know that we have a yearly tradition with basketball coverage. Before the season, I do my best to predict the statistical production of Florida’s incoming transfers using knowledge, numbers, and a bit of guessing. It started in 2021 with Tyree Appleby and Anthony Duruji, and if I can toot my own horn–the projections had great success. The 2022 and 2023 seasons also brought great success, with a particularly good prediction for Kyle Lofton. If you want to revisit these, or read the preseason prediction article for the 2023-24 season, you can do so here.

So, that brings us to now. How did I do with the predictions? Let’s take a look:


Walter Clayton




27.2 Minutes

9.8 Points

2.7 Assists

3.1 Rebounds

1.4 Steals

0.4 Blocks

38.9% Three-Point



30.9 Minutes

17.6 Points

2.6 Assists

3.6 Rebounds

1.1 Steals

0.6 Blocks

36.5% Three-Point


Zyon Pullin




29.4 Minutes

10.9 Points

3.9 Assists

3.4 Rebounds

0.7 Steals

0.1 Blocks

32.9% Three-Point




33.5 Minutes

15.5 Points

4.9 Assists

3.9 Rebounds

0.9 Steals

0.1 Blocks

44.9% Three-Point


Tyrese Samuel




29.1 Minutes

10.1 Points

1.0 Assists 

6.0 Rebounds

0.9 Steals 

0.9 Blocks 

29.3% Three-Point




26.8 Minutes

13.9 Points

1.9 Assists

7.4 Rebounds

1.1 Steals

1.1 Blocks

16.0% Three-Point


Micah Handlogten



20.6 Minutes

7.7 Points

0.8 Assists

6.2 Rebounds

0.9 Steals

1.3 Blocks

27.0% Three-Point 




18.9 Minutes

5.3 Points

0.8 Assists

6.9 Rebounds

0.6 Steals

0.9 Blocks 

50% Three-Point


Okay, now–some thoughts.


First of all, like all dynasties–things eventually must come to an end. After three seasons of fairly accurate projections, things took a serious nosedive in the 2023-24 season, and I find myself way off when it comes to point totals–though I ended up doing fairly well in some other categories*.


*If you’d like to give my projections a letter grade and are a Gator Country subscriber, feel free to do so on the Full Court Press Message board.


Here are some of the ways I was way off.

For starters, I did not expect the Gators to play as fast as they did. I had projected the Gators to be around 70th in the country in tempo, still well on the faster side, but I wasn’t even close. The Gators ended up being 17th in the country in tempo, which meant for a ton, and I mean a ton, of possessions. More possessions means more of, well, everything–more shot attempts, more points, more rebounds, more assists…everything.


Last year the Gators averaged 71 points per game, which was 186th in the country. I expected the Gators to play faster and put up a lot more points, and in my projections I had them taking a leap that I thought was pretty big–all the way up to 77 points a game.

Well, that wasn’t even close. Florida ended up scoring 86 points a game, meaning that there were 9 more points to go around than what I projected for everyone on the roster.

Then, there was Riley Kugel. I had Kugel penciled in for around 15 points per game, and he fell well short of that at 9.2 points per game. Between Florida’s hyper-fast tempo and Kugel falling short of my expectations, there were suddenly a lot of points unaccounted for–and clearly I ended up being way short on point totals for a number of players. 


Walter Clayton ended up being a much more developed scorer than I expected, and he ended up playing much more of a primary initiator role than my projections had. I thought he’d be more of an off-ball player taking a lot of catch and shoot looks, which was a big reason why I had his three-point percentage so high, and the difficult shots he ended up taking off the dribble ended up lowering his overall percentage. 


When it comes to Zyon Pullin, I fell for word coming from camp that he was going to be a secondary ball handler behind Walter Clayton. Of course, he ended up grabbing a huge role on the team and was able to have a monster season. I was way off with his three-point percentage, largely due to the fact that I expected that he, in an attempt to better his pro stock in his final college season, would take a lot more threes. He took very few at UC Riverside and I expected him to drastically crank up the volume at Florida but that wasn’t the case. He took essentially two per game, only taking really good looks and that resulted in an excellent percent.

Where I was most wrong with Tyrese Samuel was with his positional usage. Florida continually said he was going to play the power forward spot and have an advantageous offensive situation…and I chose not to believe them, and expected him to play more center, where he wouldn’t have as many quality offensive matchups. That one is on me. Playing the four, Samuel was able to take advantage of smaller players and put up scoring numbers beyond what he likely would have done playing the five.

Maybe with Tyrese Samuel I should have listened to what Florida staffers were telling me, but that wasn’t the case with Micah Handlogten. I originally had Handlogten’s projected averages lower, much closer to where he ended up, but I was continually told I was way too low on him and he was going to drastically outperform what I was saying–and I chose to buy in. Hindsight is always 20-20, but I should have gone with my method that said he was going to struggle to score outside of offensive rebound putbacks and dump off passes.

That was a breakdown of this past year’s projections, so look forward to this fall when I will give my predictions for Florida’s transfers in 2024-25.

Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, 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 @ericfawcett_.