Transfer Portal Target: Noah Gurley

Florida has had success in the transfer portal getting Brandon McKissic, CJ Felder, and Myreon Jones, and the Gators now have success on their next potential addition.

 

Noah Gurley from Furman is a 6’8”, 200 pound forward who is a talented offensive player as both an individual scorer and as a distributor. A versatile forward who has played the 3, 4, and 5, it’s easy to imagine him fitting on just about any roster in the country. Florida was quick to reach out as soon as he went into the portal and they certainly see him as someone who could be a guy part of their offense. 

 

As a sophomore for the Paladins Gurley averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists. He was the cornerstone of Furman’s offense, whether they played through him in the high post or used him as an oversized wing who could still handle the rock and shoot it from deep. Gurley hit 34% of his threes on 4.5 attempts per game, so while his percentage isn’t spectacular it was a solid efficiency on a high number of attempts, so you can cement him as a legitimate stretch player. 

 

Whenever it comes to mid-major transfer targets, the question is always asked. 

 

“How will their game translate to the high-major level?”

It’s a fair question, and one that demands we put Furman and Gurley’s level of play into context. This past season Furman was 96th in KenPom and 73rd in the NET rankings, suggesting they were a better team than a number of high-major teams. Early in the season they played against Alabama where they only lost by 3, making them one of only a few teams that gave the Crimson Tide a challenge this season. A year prior, Furman was 81st in KenPom and played a talented Auburn team to overtime, and hung with Alabama for a single digit loss. Furman has been one of the best mid-major teams in basketball over the last couple of seasons and with Gurley as one of their best players it is easy to see him transitioning to the highest level of the sport. 

 

One area Gurley really thrives is as a low-post scorer. His ability to score set the tone and made defenses respond to him, where he then was able to distribute as a high level out of the block. Gurley was one of the most efficient low post scorers in the country, as you can see from these clips:

Gurley definitely had the length advantage in a few of these plays and that won’t always be the case when he’s at a high-major school but his balance, footwork, and touch will still make him effective. Additionally, he’s going to be able to punish switching defenses whenever a guard gets lost on him on the low block.

 

Furman coach Bob Richey is a good friend of Mike White’s, and there is a chance that White even took a big page out of Richey’s coaching book. I say this because the Princeton offense that Furman has run for years is very similar to what Mike White started running three years ago when he finally decided to switch things up from the dribble drive.

 

In this style of offense, Gurley played the most important role as the player who set the initial “chin” screen and then got the ball to be a distributor. Watch him quarterback these offensive sets:

For reference, here is a thread on Twitter of Florida’s offense from a year ago. You can see that they ran essentially the same offense, something that White very well could have taken from Richey and Furman.

Considering Florida has liked to run that offense it’s easy to see how Gurley would fit into the offense. Defensively, Gurley also has what White would be looking for. He was a monster at protecting the rim in the Southern Conference and while it would definitely be a step up in talent to the SEC, his length and anticipation would certainly translate. The Gators have had success putting multiple shot blockers on the floor at a time and having Gurley at the 4 would give them a lot of rim protection. Moving on the perimeter also isn’t a problem for Gurley who can hang with guards in switches, using both his quick feet as well as his length to steer ball handlers.

 

Right now Gurley’s decision is set to come down on Sunday. The competing schools are Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Duke, San Diego State, Marquette, Miami, and Tennessee.

 

From what I’m hearing, there are three schools in the mix and really two he is closely looking at. The allure of Duke has him intrigued, but most expect it to come down to Florida and Alabama. The Crimson Tide have a roster loaded with talent and Alabama is one of the hottest programs in the country making them an enticing option. Florida would likely offer him a bigger role, and if Florida goes back to the Princeton offense it will look a lot like what Gurley is comfortable with. 

 

With Florida as one of the favorites, keep an eye out for Gurley’s decision on Sunday.

 

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.