Walter Clayton Jr. Commits To Florida

Florida got some gigantic news on Tuesday as guard Walter Clayton Jr. announced that he would be transferring to the Gators.


Ever since the portal period opened Clayton was a top target on Florida’s board and landing him is huge news for a team that was looking to completely retool their backcourt. Clayton comes to the Gators from Iona where he averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.2 assists for a team that finished 76th in KenPom, just two spots behind the Gators.


This will be somewhat of a homecoming for Clayton who is from Lake Wales, Florida where he was a star in both basketball and football. During his visits to Gainesville Clayton was greeted with family, friends, and former teammates from both the hardwood and gridiron who pushed for the local legend to come home. 


Candid about his recruitment throughout the entire process, Clayton chose the Gators over St. John’s in the end. Clayton’s coach at Iona, the famed Rick Pitino, took the St. John’s job this offseason and attempted to take Clayton with him but ultimately the Gators’ pitch was what won out.


Clayton brings the Gators an intelligent, athletic, and productive guard who can play both the point guard and shooting guard position. At 6’2” and 195 pounds he might not look physically imposing but he plays the game tough, constantly in attack mode whenever he gets the basketball. Looking at Florida’s current roster construction and the targets they are after, it appears the Gators look at Clayton as a point guard which also could have been part of the sell for him to come to Gaineville. Florida lacked an explosive scoring option at the point guard position last season and Clayton will bring some of that electricity with the ability to score at all three levels. 

After a season where the Gators struggled greatly from the three-point line Clayton should give some much needed relief in that area. Clayton was one of the best three-point shooters in the country last season hitting 43% of his long balls on over five attempts per game, astonishing numbers that will make Florida’s coaching staff salivate. Much of his shooting was off the catch, and it will be interesting to see how the Gators are able to use Clayton as both a primary initiator early in the offense and a catch and shoot option at the end of a possession. 


Another element of immense value to the Clayton addition is that he has multiple years of eligibility remaining, just finishing his sophomore season at Iona. This means he could play at Florida for multiple years, and while there is a little bit of sleeper NBA buzz for Clayton due to his elite shooting he could very well be a player who uses all of his eligibility. With multiple years remaining he also might have another level or two to elevate his game, and that would be a lot considering he is already a productive player.


Clayton also brings intelligence that only comes from playing for one of the great minds in college basketball history, Rick Pitino. Iona played intricately on both the offensive and defensive sides of the basketball and Clayton was able to navigate the scheme with ease, showing a high level of intelligence. It’s worth noting as well that there are a lot of established guards that wanted to go play for Pitino now that he was at a high-major program again, but still he wanted Clayton over any of those names.


Florida has now put together arguably one of the best transfer portal classes in the country, and they still have more spots available.

Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, 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 @ericfawcett_.