Florida’s hot streak on the transfer portal continued on Monday with a surprised commitment of Charleston Southern wing Phlandrous Fleming. There weren’t any reports out there that the Gators were in contact with the senior from Athens, Georgia so the commitment came as a bit of a surprise. Georgia and Virginia media were under the impression those teams had a good shot at landing him and were nothing short of shocked to see Fleming announce his commitment to the Gators.
Fleming is a veteran of the Big South conference, a 4-year starter at Charleston Southern who accumulated well over 3000 minutes of court time during his tenure there. That experience will be welcomed on a Gators roster that has been awfully young over the last couple of years, a problem that was also addressed with the additions of Brandon McKissic and Myreon Jones.
In his last two seasons at Charleston Southern Fleming has been a stat sheet stuffer, the central piece of the Buccaneers’ offense as both a scorer and distributor. While he stands 6’4” and weighs 210 pounds he was often used as a power forward, though he also often took on point guard duties within that role. Here were his 2020-2021 stats:
80.6% Free Throw
As you can see, his numbers were robust.
It is worth noting, to put these numbers in context, that the Big South is considered one of the worst conferences in college basketball and Charleston Southern finished last in that league. The Buccaneers finished 3-18 on the season, and their only quality opponent was NC State (though Fleming missed that game). So, while Fleming’s raw numbers are incredible, the context is important here.
Even though he wasn’t facing the best competition, it’s tough to put up those kinds of raw numbers. Being the centerpiece of Charleston Southern’s offense he was the focus of every opposing team’s scouting report and he was still able to put up tons of points.
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) April 12, 2021
Charleston Southern used Fleming a lot as a pick and roll ball handler where he was mostly looking to score. At 6’4” and 210 pounds he’s a thick guard and that allowed him to bully his way to the rim and finish. He also loved to pull up from three as he had over 8.2 attempts from deep last season. As you can see, that amount of shots off the dribble didn’t make for a great percentage at only 32%. The prior two seasons saw him shoot 26% and 29%, so a lack of efficiency from three has been a trend throughout his career. Many of attempts were difficult, challenging attempts while he tried to put his team on his back, and the Gators have to hope that a decreased role and more open looks will help his efficiency. Fleming’s mechanics look fine and he is a solid free throw shooter which can be an indication of some jump shooting success, so we’ll have to see how he develops in that area.
His raw point totals are what are going to get Fleming a lot of attention but in the Big South he was also known as a stout defender. Fleming was a two time all-conference defender in the league, something that also made him very desirable as a transfer. Watching him on defense, his anticipation and length are what really stand out as he can be extremely disruptive using his long arms to make it difficult for ball handlers to work when he’s in the area. You also see his anticipation at play when he blocks shots as he timed attempts perfectly to swat them away and erase a layup.
Considering the Gators have been so poor on the defensive glass over the last several seasons, Fleming’s rebounding will be exciting for them. Despite being undersized at the power forward position Fleming was a rebounding machine coming away with the lion’s share of rebounds anywhere near his area. A capable ball handler in the open floor, every defensive rebound he secured also usually meant a fast break opportunity for the Buccaneers. His 20.2% rebound rate was one of the best for a sub-6’6” player in the country, and it is easily higher than what anyone on the Gators had last season.
Once again, Florida’s staff has shown they can go out and get talent on the transfer market. They have gotten a number of players that add production, experience, and ball handling ability, a recipe for what should be a much more well-rounded team this upcoming season. Those skills, plus his incredible name will likely make Phlandrous Fleming a fan favorite in Gainesville.