With Florida’s NCAA Tournament run finished up it’s time to move on to everyone’s second favorite season–transfer season.
In the past few seasons the transfer portal has been more and more active and this offseason, when the one-time transfer rule where players can be instantly eligible is expected to come into effect, it’s likely going to be the craziest ever.
Of course, this will be nothing new to Florida. They have had great success in recent history with transfers and have leaned heavily on the portal to insert talent and experience into their lineups. In fact, for most of the season they started three transfers in Tyree Appleby, Anthony Duruji, and Colin Castleton which speaks to the importance they put on the portal.
The Gators have set themselves up to take several transfers this season. They only have one 2021 recruit coming in–five star wing Kowacie Reeves. Past him they never really recruited that many high school players, something that suggested they were going to look to fill spots with transfers.
Since the Gators aren’t set to graduate any senior you might be thinking to yourself how many scholarships will the Gators have to fill. Well, Tre Mann entered the NBA Draft on Wednesday morning, so he’s gone. That makes the space for Kowacie Reeves. Then, I am expecting there to be two players to transfer out which will create two spots for the Gators to hopefully land impact players.
Here are some of the players that Florida have already reached out to that haven’t already committed to other schools or put out a list of final schools that doesn’t include Florida. It’s worth noting that this could still be only the very beginning of players entering the transfer portal, so there could be far more talent available than what we are seeing now, even though it’s already a deep pool of quality players.
Shelton is a 6’2” point guard who stuffed the stat sheet at Northern Arizona finishing the season with 19.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. That is a massive amount of production in any league and it has a number of high majors calling. He brings a massive amount of energy and competes hard on the defensive end. The problem with him is his three-point shooting which isn’t great. He’s a career 34.5% shooter from deep, which is a decent percentage, but it’s on only two attempts per game and his hesitancy to let it fly speaks to his confidence as a shooter. Instead of shooting from the perimeter he’s more inclined to drive which worked at Northern Arizona but could be a tougher sell at the high major level. My prediction is that he’ll be a really good backup point guard at a high major school.
CJ Felder spoke to Florida’s coaching staff over Zoom on Wednesday and you can see why the Gators are interested in him. At 6’7” and 230 pounds he looks a lot like something the Gators missed last season–a true power forward. Felder is athletic when he needs to get above the rim and physical when he’s underneath it. Averaging 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds he wasn’t a particularly dominant force in the ACC, but he was only a sophomore playing on a team that wasn’t very good. Florida might also be banking on the fact that he has a good looking three-point stroke that shows potential, however he hit only 31.4% of his threes a year ago. As a junior there’s no reason he couldn’t be a high major starter, though more of a glue guy than a central piece.
Florida has wanted to play faster than they have the last few seasons and what could help accelerate the pace is Jarrod West from Marshall, a team that has perennially been one of the fastest in the country. West is a true point guard who knows how to get his team into offense, and after four years at Marshall with 124 starts and nearly 4100 minutes he’s as experienced a college guard as you’re going to get. Averaging 12.5 points and 6 assists he was productive in Conference USA, but not a statistical monster. His experience is shown in the fact he doesn’t turn the ball over, and his number one offensive skill is his 40.8% three-point stroke on around 5 attempts per game. The knock on West will be the fact that he’s only 5’11”, but he was an all-conference defender who averaged 2.5 steals a game this past season. He’s either a solid high major starting point guard or a more than capable sixth man.
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Florida just lost out to a Summit League team, so why not try to get a second team All-Summit League player? Too soon? Probably, but I have to note that McKissic is a guy who had great success against Oral Roberts with 20 points and 24 points in two games against them. McKissic is a combo guard with adequate size at 6’3” and he’s a productive Summit League player averaging 17.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. What’s nice about McKissic is that unlike a lot of mid major bucket getters that high major teams are going to want, he’s quite efficient. Hitting 43% of his threes and 54% of his twos, he put up points in a way that would make any coach happy. With decent positional size and the ability to score efficiently at his level McKissic is definitely a high major guard. His biggest issue has been turnovers, coughing it up 3 times per game last season. This was largely because he isn’t a true point guard but was asked to be for his team that lacked one. I see McKissic as a decent starter or a 6th man of the year candidate in a high major league.
With the offers Florida has put out it’s fairly clear they are looking to address a need in the backcourt. The Gators lacked ball handlers last season and struggled with turnovers and with Tre Mann leaving to go pro there is a definite void. Luckily for the Gators, the guard position is where the portal has the most depth so they should definitely have options to patch the hole.