Florida has remained active on the transfer portal and in terms of frontcourt targets Morehead State’s Johni Broome has most of the attention. While he might be Florida’s top target they’ll have stiff competition for his services and if they were to miss out there are other interior players the staff has their eyes on.
One of these is Efe Abogidi from Washington State, a 6’10”, 225 center who played under Kyle Smith, a close friend of Todd Golden when Smith was the head coach at San Francisco and Golden was on his staff.
Abogidi just completed his second season at Washington State where he averaged 8.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks. These aren’t numbers that are going to jump off the page at you, but he’s got an excellent frame and has been able to contribute in the Pac 12 as a young player and you can see why coaches around the country see potential in him.
After first releasing that he was considering, wait for it, 35 teams:
WSU transfer Efe Abogidi tells me that he's considering following programs:
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 19, 2022
He has since cut his list to 12, with Florida joining Kansas State, Oklahoma, Houston, Mississippi State, Maryland, UCF, Wake Forest, Arizona, Marquette, Texas A&M, and Texas.
In a lot of ways Florida’s interest in Abogidi is another target rooted in analytics, much like the interest and ultimate take of VMI guard Trey Bonham. There are a few advanced stats that make Abogidi look like a fascinating player, starting with his rebounding numbers.
Abogidi was 81st in the country in offensive rebound rate and 306th in the country in defensive rebound rate, just slightly down from his freshman season when he was 149th in the country in offensive rebound rate and 103rd in defensive rebound rate. Golden has always put a priority on rebounding, and it has something he has mentioned needing a serious overhaul immediately since coming to Florida, and understandably so given that the Gators were one of the worst high major teams at rebounding the basketball over the last four seasons. With Golden making rebounding a priority, it makes sense why he would target a player who has proven over two seasons that he is one of the nation’s best on the glass.
Another advanced statistic that looks favorable for Abogidi is his block rate where he is 34th in the country. As a reference point, Castleton was 55th in the country in block rate last season and perhaps as an even better reference point, Kevarrius Hayes was 31st, 36th, and 33rd in block rate in his last three years at Florida. Being that high in block rate puts you in the conversation for one of the best shot blockers in college basketball and you can once again see why Golden would have some interest there.
Other areas where Abogidi looks favorable are steal rate (404th nationally), fouls drawn (413th), and 2-point percentage (283rd).
Colin Castleton returning to the Gators was a massive boost for the 2022-23 season but Golden will be looking for who could be a contributor at center beyond that and Abogidi might fit into that timeline. Abogidi was a starter for much of his time at Washington State but only played about 20 minutes per game, so a slightly decreased role to play behind Castleton for a year before potentially being the starter in 2023-24 is a role that he might be sold on.
While there are advanced numbers that look favorably on Abogidi, there are also some that don’t look very good. Offensively he took a high number of post ups, but he wasn’t particularly efficient at finishing them at 0.79 points per possession, putting him in the 43rd percentile nationally. For that reason, the offensive translation to the SEC wouldn’t exactly be an easy one, and it’s likely he’d have to change his role a little bit. It is worth noting that he was excellent at finishing at the rim on dump offs and cuts, shooting an astonishing 72% around the rim.
Another area of concern from an advanced stat perspective are, well, pretty much all his defensive numbers.
“Hold on,” you might be saying. “Wasn’t his block rate outstanding?”
Yes, but it might not tell the whole story. While he was able to swat away a lot of shots, he wasn’t always impactful at defender the rim when he wasn’t rotating from the weak side to erase a layup. He was in the 54th percentile of rim protection which is aggressively average for a center, and you’d hope for a lot better from a player with his frame who isn’t offering a ton on the offensive end.
Post defense was a big hole in Abogidi’s game and his 1.07 PPP put him in the 30th percentile nationally in post defense. Abogidi was known for falling for pump fakes and losing his balance a bit, allowing for shorter, stouter post players to create space and finish around him.
Where Abogidi struggled the most, however, was on the perimeter whether in closeouts or in pick and roll settings and that is awfully concerning for projecting him to the SEC. Overall, Abogidi was in the 9th percentile nationally in terms of total individual defense.
It’s also worth noting that Washington State was a very good defensive team, 28th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, so his poor defensive numbers stick out on a team that had success guarding. Abogidi only playing 20 minutes a game was partially due to the defensive struggles, and Washington State would often close games without him on the floor.
Florida’s pursuit of Abogidi is an interesting one. He has some advanced numbers that look stellar, and others that should cause major concern. Of course, he’s a young player and if he did come to the Gators he wouldn’t be relied on for big minutes right away, and perhaps they see him as a development project that they’re willing to spend the time on.
Should Florida’s interest remain they should have a good shot at landing Abogidi, but first they will wait on the decision from Johni Broome.