When it comes to Florida’s targets in the transfer portal you can see clearly that loading up the frontcourt is a high priority. Colin Castleton graduating leaves a whole lot of production up for grabs at the center position, and with CJ Felder and Jason Jitoboh hitting the transfer portal that Gators will be searching for a lot more depth after they didn’t have enough healthy bodies to play in the post last season.
Looking at what the Gators need in the frontcourt, it’s offensive production to make up for the points going out the door with Colin Castleton, and it’s rebounding that they desperately need following a season where Florida ranked 285th in the country in defensive rebounding.
Rienk Mast, one of Florida’s top transfer targets, would help the Gators in both those categories.
If you haven’t yet heard of the Dutch big man, Mast is transferring from Bradley, a team that had an excellent year in the Missouri Valley conference. The Braves finished 90th in KenPom and fell in the conference title game to Drake, a team that played Miami close in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Mast finished the season averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories.
The Missouri Valley has historically been one of the better mid-major conferences out there, though they did have somewhat of a dip this season–ranking 16th of all leagues in quality according to KenPom. Bradley, Drake, and Belmont were strong at the top of the league, but the bottom was very poor which tanked the league’s overall numbers. Though the Missouri Valley might not be at the level it has been in recent history it’s still a solid league and Mast was a solid contributor.
Mast only played against two high-major opponents (after being injured to start the year when the Braves played a couple more) but performed well. Against a talented Arkansas team he had 17 points and 6 rebounds, and against Wisconsin in the NIT he put up 14 points and 12 rebounds.
With solid production for a quality mid-major program, various projection systems have Mast as one of the best players available. EvanMiya, a popular tool for ranking transfers, has Mast listed as the 10th best player in the portal currently so he’ll have a number of elite programs after him.
Standing at 6’9” and weighing 240 pounds he has size that will translate to the high major level. He’s not particularly explosive, more relying on his length and strength to accomplish what he needs to around the rim. Most of Mast’s production is near the paint where he was an elite post up threat, whether playing with his back to the basket or facing up and using one or two dribbles. He is extremely strong and has a soft touch around the rim making him a threat to score whenever he gets the ball on the block.
While the low block might be where he does most of his work, Mast is also more than willing to step out beyond the three-point line. Taking just over two threes a game last season Mast shot 35% from three, largely on pick and pop attempts, and the threat of the jumper definitely stressed defenses who had to be aware of that shot. Todd Golden desperately wanted one of his centers to be able to shoot the three last year with no one ultimately able to provide that talent, so you could see how he’d look at Mast’s three-point shooting (albeit on not a ton of attempts) and think of him as someone who could add a new dimension to his offense.
Mast was also dominant on the glass posting the 67th best defensive rebound rate in the country, something the Gators could desperately use. The Missouri Valley has a lot of bruising centers to contend with and Mast was able to handle himself well, taking care of the glass and getting quick outlets to his guards who could then push in transition.
Another X-factor Mast has is experience. He has started nearly every game he has played for Bradley, 79 starts to be exact, and he has been in college for four years. After redshirting his first year, and getting a year back due to COVID, he would hypothetically have two more years of eligibility and that’s something that will make coaches salivate.
One area that will be a slight concern is defense. Mast is a big body who handles himself well in one on one post up scenarios, but he’s not a particularly agile defender who excels in pick and roll defense or is great at switching onto guards. He’s also not a rim protector, and that would be a big adjustment for the Gators after having Colin Castleton man the paint.
It’s easy to see why the Gators would pursue Mast heavily. Two major issues that plagued the Gators last year were half court offense and defensive rebounding, and Mast is someone who could help in both areas.
There is no timetable yet for Mast’s decision, and he is still receiving interest from high major programs all around the country.