Another day, another batch of transfers the Gators have reached out to.
Florida recently completed a second Zoom call with CJ Felder from Boston College, a name you’ll have to keep a close eye on. He appears to be one of the top targets right now, but on Monday Florida reached out to a pair of intriguing transfers that would both help bolster the Gators’ roster should they come to Gainesville.
First, the Gators reached out to Noah Gurley, a 6’8”, 210 pound power forward from Furman. It didn’t take long for talks to get “serious,” as they were able to quickly get on a Zoom call with him after first getting in touch.
Gurley just completed his third year with Furman, starting and playing significant minutes in all three seasons. This past year he averaged 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, some pretty significant production in what is an underrated league in the Southern Conference. It’s worth noting that Furman finished 75th in the NET rankings and 98th in KenPom, higher than about 20% of high major teams. They also played Alabama to a 3-point game. That speaks to the quality of Furman, and Gurley was a key player for them.
A versatile offensive player he’s capable as a stretch four (34% from three) and as a finisher around the hoop but where he’s most special is as ball handler. There aren’t many 6’8” players that are as comfortable as Gurley is as a ball handler and passer and he shows legitimately good touch when finding teammates. Florida has gotten very little playmaking out of players other than their point guards recently and getting some secondary distribution from Gurley would really help the complexion of their offense.
Gurley was also a dominant defensive rebounder for Furman, though at 210 pounds he isn’t massive and therefore he probably wouldn’t be expected to control the glass at the same level he did in the SoCon. However, he would likely be an upgrade over the rebounding Florida was getting from the power forward position this past season and for a team that struggled to rebound that skillset is enticing.
Around the Furman campus Gurley is known as a polite kid with a great sense of humor. This was shown recently in an interview with 247 Sports he did regarding his transfer where he said he was looking for a school with “good dining” before laughing. Well, Florida could certainly provide him good dining on campus as well as a solid role on their team. This will be a recruitment to watch closely.
The Gators also reached out to arguably the best player in the portal right now, Stanley Umude from South Dakota. Umude was a Summit League monster this past season averaging 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. A true do-it-all kind of star, he was his team’s leader scorer, rebounder, and passer. Standing 6’6” and weighing 210 pounds he’s big enough to play the four, which he did at South Dakota, but has the fluidity to play the wing which he might be asked to do more at the high major level.
In non-conference play he put up 24 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist against Colorado and 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 assists against Nebraska showing he can more than hang with high major competition. Having just completed his senior season he has a ton of experience and looks ready to showcase his game at a higher level.
Offensively, Umude is someone who initiated most sets for South Dakota and showcased his ability to handle the ball and take advantage of bigger players with a quicker first step. When teams tried to play him with a smaller matchup, he took them down to post and overpowered them. Looking at the way he moves with the ball as well as his size he looks a bit like, dare I say, Summit League Keyontae Johnson. Florida has had great success with a skilled forward like Johnson, something they could use in a recruiting pitch to Umude.
Umude was also a dominant defensive rebounder grabbing 22% of opponents’ misses, a defensive rebounding rate that is significantly higher than anyone on Florida’s roster. His ability to handle the ball would help the Gators on the break, and he’s a solid shooter hitting 35% of his threes on over four attempts per game. Umude’s ability to help a team in a number of ways means there are going to be a ton of teams vying for his services and that will make it a tough recruitment. However, Florida’s recent success with transfers and the way they can use Keyontae Johnson as a player archetype for what Umude could be might give them an edge.