2016-2017 Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #2 SEC
It’s year two with Mike White at the helm in Gainesville and the Gators have lost leading scorer Dorian Finney-Smith, who is now with the Dallas Mavericks. After an up and down season that resulted in an NIT appearance, Florida returns four starters and hopes are high in Gainesville. However the Gators, one of the SEC’s worst three-point shooting teams, need to improve beyond the arc if they want to compete at the top of the league. The addition of Charleston transfer Canyon Barry should certainly help.
2015-16 Record: 21-15, 9-9
2015-16 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Mike White
Coach Record: 21-15 at Florida, 122-55 overall
Florida’s biggest loss is Dorian Finney-Smith. The Gator’s do-it-all forward led them in scoring and rebounding a season ago. Now onto the NBA, Finney-Smith leaves a big gap to fill in Gainesville. A few players also transferred out of the Gators program over the offseason. After an underwhelming tenure in Gainesville, Alex Murphy was granted a sixth year of eligibility to play at Northeastern. Meanwhile, Brandone Francis-Ramirez is headed to Texas Tech and Devon Walker announced his move to Troy.
Florida’s most notable offseason addition was former Charleston guard Canyon Barry. The son of NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry averaged 19.7 points on 40.1% shooting from the floor last year for the Cougars. He should provide the Gators a much-needed scoring boost from outside. The Gators also added an intriguing frontcourt piece in freshman Eric Hester, Mike White’s first signee in Gainesville.
Who to Watch:
All eyes will be on Devin Robinson. The Gators will need the versatile junior to make the next step in order to rise back to the top of the SEC. He is also coming off surgery on a stress fracture in his foot so his immediate impact will be something to keep an eye on. Fellow frontcourt mate John Egbunu also is returning from surgery (on a torn ligament in his thumb) but is expected to once again be a key cog for Florida down low.
With four returning starters and a scoring influx provided by Barry, the Gators are in a prime position to compete at the top of the SEC and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. KeVaughn Allen showed spurts of greatness as a freshman and should only get better as he becomes more mature on the court. Meanwhile, Justin Leon looks to be headed towards a bigger role after showing promise at the end of last season. If Florida can continue to take care of the ball, Gators fans have plenty to be optimistic about with Mike White manning the ship.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Kasey Hill, Senior, Guard, 9.1 points per game
KeVaughn Allen, Sophomore, Guard, 11.6 points per game
Devin Robinson, Junior, Forward, 9.0 points per game
Justin Leon, Senior, Forward, 5.3 points per game
John Egbunu, Senior, Center, 11.5 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 74.4 (143rd in nation, 10th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.9 (98, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.6 (242, 8)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.1 (53, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.2 (155, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.9 (290, 13)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.7 (323, 12)
Rebound Margin: 2.0 (115, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (170, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.3 (51, 4)
Madness 2017 NBA Draft Rankings:
#41 Devin Robinson
Madness 2016 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#122 Eric Hester