The 2019 Florida basketball season is now upon us, and in head coach Mike White’s 5th season, the expectations are higher than ever. The latest BPI (Basketball Power Index) has Florida tied for the best chance to win the NCAA tournament. The Gators have more than enough talent to make a run this year, and expectations are as high as the glory years in the mid-2000’s.
First let’s take a look at who Florida lost from last season’s tournament team.
The one that Gator fans will miss most, is KeVaughn Allen. A 4-year starter who finished #6 on the all-time scoring list at UF, he was a mainstay of the starting lineup for years in the orange and blue.
Another loss for Florida is Jalen Hudson. The second highest scorer by an incoming transfer in program history, he put up 861 points in two years at UF. Hudson gave the Gators length on the perimeter and consistent shooting from behind the arc.
Kevarrius Hayes, has also finished his time in the orange and blue. The senior who had an up and down career for the Gators, was another guy who consistently found his way into minutes and starting roles.
Keith Stone, a junior last year, transferred out of Gainesville. He came to Florida with huge potential but never quite reached it.
The Gators return several players who contributed to last year’s squad.
Starters Andrew Nembhard and Noah Locke return to the backcourt for Florida. Expect both of these guys to get looks from multiple teams in the upcoming NBA draft.
In the frontcourt the Gators keep sophomore Keyontae Johnson. Johnson was instrumental for the Gators last season logging a .470 shooting percentage and 6.4 rebounds per game.
Gorjok Gak and Dontay Basset also return to Gainesville in the frontcourt as well, but will open the season nursing injuries.
Now we get to the part everyone has been looking forward to, the #8 ranked recruiting class Mike White brings in this year.
Headlining this class is guard Scottie Lewis, a likely one-and-done candidate.
The Gators bring in another McDonald’s All-American in Tre Mann. A local of sorts, Mann played at The Villages High School, but grew up in Gainesville. Mann looks to shine in his return to Hogtown.
Another freshman with high expectations is Jason Jitoboh. The 6-foot 11-inch freshman from Nigeria will be a big presence down low for Florida throughout his collegiate career.
Ques Glover is another guard that Mike White has brought in. Ques comes right out of rival Tennessee’s backyard in Knoxville. Ques brings in a state championship and MVP honors and will be a role player off the bench this season.
Mike White landed the top ranked transfer in the country, Kerry Blackshear. Blackshear’s arrival moved the Gators from SEC contender to NCAA title contenders.
The grad-transfer averaged 14.9 and 7.5 rebounds at Virginia Tech last season and brings a legitimate post-presence into Mike White’s offense.
Hopes are high in Gainesville, so sit back and enjoy the ride back to prominence in the basketball world for the Gators.
Florida tips off the season against North Florida on Tuesday at 7:00 PM.