As Florida continues to work the transfer portal looking for future Gators, a call went out to another fascinating player–Charles Pride from Bryant.
Pride, who hails from Syracuse, New York, is a 6’4” combo guard who will return to college for his fifth season after playing his first four for Bryant. This season he averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game–which is approximately where he has been for the past three seasons making his production pretty consistent at that level.
What makes Pride so interesting is his style of play for a Bryant team that is one of the most chaotic in the country. The Bulldogs essentially press for 40 minutes every game, and it isn’t the kind of slow-you-down, eat the shot clock kind of press–they are aggressively trying to force turnovers. Then, when they get the ball back, they are trying to push and score within the first 8 seconds of the shot clock.
Playing in this system for four years, Pride really defines this style of play. He is a dogged on ball defender, and someone who loved sprinting from a near side to trap the ball and try to create a steal. Offensively, he thrived in the uptempo attack, using his physical 200-pound frame to barrel downhill and score in the paint or get fouled. The other area where Pride was able to be a threat in transition is with the pull-up three. Overall pride shot 37% from three, but off the dribble, with many of these threes being in transition, he shot 41% from three.
When you’re looking at what the Gators like about Pride it would be his experience in a transition attacking system that could hopefully accelerate Florida’s pace of play. Coach Golden wanted the Gators to be able to play more in transition, but they simply didn’t have the players that were capable of playing at a breakneck speed–whether it be the ability to handle the ball, make decisions quickly enough, or make the shots required in that system whether layups through contact or threes off the move. Pride brings that ability–someone who can catch the ball at full speed and take a bounce or two before finishing strong, or receive the ball mid stride and take a dribble or two before pulling up from deep. Pride isn’t a point guard and if someone were to play him as a primarily ball handler they probably wouldn’t optimize his talent, but as an off guard he brings that ability to handle in the open floor that can help an offense operate.
Now, the concerns. First of all, when looking at the numbers Pride averaged you have to remember that Bryant was 15th in the country in tempo so they played very high possession games which is going to inflate box score numbers. For example, his 6 rebounds a game from a wing sounds great–but his 7% offensive rebounding and 12% defensive rebound rates are actually pretty pedestrian for a wing. Then, there is Bryant’s competition level. They played in the America East Conference this season, the 25th ranked conference according to KenPom. That was after they relocated from the Northeastern Conference where Pride played the prior three years, which was 29th in the country. Bryant also didn’t play particularly challenging non-conference schedules the last four years, so Pride doesn’t have much of a sample size playing against high-major talent–though he did have 28 points against Florida Atlantic and 23 against Cincinnati this season.
It will be interesting to see just how Florida evaluates Pride as a player that on the surface has really solid but not elite low-major numbers, but one that might bring a style of play that the Gators are looking for. Not that the Gators will be trying to full court press or be the fastest offensive team in the country next year–but they are looking to punish opponents in transition more than they did this year and to do that you need some wings that are comfortable in the style. Pride doesn’t look like someone who could go to the high-major level and be a star, though he could be a strong complimentary piece that can create easy points in transition and play away from the ball in the half court and knock down shots.
Add him to the list of players to keep an eye on this transfer portal season.