#42 Florida Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

Florida Gators

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #42
Conference Rank: #5 SEC

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Nothing went right for Florida last year. Injuries and suspensions derailed their season and the Gators ended up going 16-17 overall. That was their first losing season since 1998. And now the face of the Gators, Coach Billy Donovan, is off to the NBA and there are serious questions surrounding the program. Coach Mike White comes to Gainesville from Louisiana Tech where he tallied a 101-40 overall record. However, none of those games came in the NCAA Tournament. Everybody at Florida has a lot to prove this year and they know it and are ready to prove it.

2014-15 Record: 16-17, 8-10
2014-15 Postseason: none
Coach: Mike White
Coach Record: 0-0 at Florida, 101-40 overall

Who’s Out:
Florida’s struggles were in part due to missing Michael Frazier and Eli Carter for a few games each. Now both are gone for good. Frazier, who declared early for the NBA and went undrafted, averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals during his junior campaign. Carter had a pretty good year during his lone season with the Gators, averaging 8.8 points per game. Jon Horford was the tough big man on the team and Chris Walker was the best shot blocker. Even Jacob Kurtz, a walk-on, averaged 18.5 minutes per game in the frontcourt. There is certainly some rebuilding to do.

Who’s In:
Florida needed two things out of this class…size and shooters. They got both. In the size department, the Gators picked up experience as well. John Egbunu spent his freshman campaign at South Florida where he averaged 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds. After a year on the sidelines at Florida, the 6-11 center is ready to step into the starting lineup and provide some much needed toughness in the paint. Schuyler Rimmer, a 6-10 walk-on transfer from Stanford, will be eligible following the fall semester. Justin Leon was a junior college All-American last year and averaged 21.5 points and 10.0 rebounds at Shawnee Community College in Illinois. Incoming freshmen Kevarrius Hayes and Keith Stone will battle for minutes too. Hayes can be an enforcer in the paint right away and Stone is a very talented combo forward. In the backcourt, KeVaughn Allen and redshirt freshman Brandone Francis-Ramirez are capable of making a big splash. By most accounts, Allen is the top recruit in this class and he is exactly what this team needs. He can shoot the ball and attack the basket effectively, something Coach White will want to do as much as possible. Allen should be stepping into a starting role from day one.

Who to Watch:
The newcomers will make an impact, but Dorian Finney-Smith, Devin Robinson and Kasey Hill are talented and experienced players who are poised for big things this season. Finney-Smith has done it before and he will do it again. Last season the 6-8 forward averaged 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. More impressively, he knocked down 42.6 percent of his 115 three-point attempts. Finney-Smith could have gone to the NBA and his return gives Florida real NCAA Tournament hopes. Robinson is an interesting player who came on strong at the end of his freshman campaign. He is a 6-8, 195 pound small forward, but he will need to shoot better to really take that next step and emerge as one of Florida’s best players. Kasey Hill has had some more time to live up to his potential, but the point guard was terribly inconsistent during his sophomore campaign. There were times when Hill looked like an All-American point guard and times he could not make a shot or take care of the ball at all. Coach White, a former point guard, will help develop some consistency.

Final Projection:
Alex Murphy and Chris Chiozza are also back after playing in the regular rotation a year ago. Murphy looked good after becoming eligible at mid-season following his transfer from Duke. Chiozza, a sophomore point guard, has the talent to start over Hill should Hill continue his inconsistent play. Coach White could also run a two point guard offense at times since Chiozza can knock down some outside shots. Wing DeVon Walker is another player to keep an eye on this season. He missed last year with an injury and will at least be a solid defender on the perimeter. All in all, this team should be better than they were a year ago and possibly much better. It is a big year for the program to prove that they can move on without Coach Donovan and they should be able to do it and sneak into the NCAA Tournament.  

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Kasey Hill, Junior, Guard, 7.2 points per game
KeVaughn Allen, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season
Devin Robinson, Sophomore, Forward, 6.4 points per game
Dorian Finney-Smith, Senior, Forward, 13.1 points per game
John Egbunu, Sophomore, Center, DNP last season

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 63.7 (264th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.0 (24, 2)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.4 (172, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.8 (77, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.6 (141, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.3 (256, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 63.5 (328, 14)
Rebound Margin: 1.1 (145, 10)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (139, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.4 (162, 6)

Madness 2016 NBA Draft Rankings:
#16 Devin Robinson

Madness 2015 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#62 KeVaughn Allen
#84 Kevarrius Hayes
#88 Keith Stone


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