#31 Florida Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Florida Gators
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #4 SEC
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On paper, Florida looked like a Final Four contender last season. On the court though was a different story. The Gators finished last year with a disappointing 19-12 record. A couple starters are gone, but much of Coach Mike White’s young roster is back to give it another try. In fact, this is still a young team and there is not a single senior on the roster.
2019-20 Record: 19-12, 11-7
Coach: Mike White
Coach Record: 108-65 at Florida, 209-105 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kerry Blackshear Jr, Forward, 12.8 ppg
Andrew Nembhard, Guard, 11.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Keyontae Johnson, Junior, Forward, 14.0 ppg
Noah Locke, Junior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Scottie Lewis, Sophomore, Guard, 8.5 ppg
Tre Mann, Sophomore, Guard, 5.3 ppg
Ques Glover, Sophomore, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Omar Payne, Sophomore, Forward, 3.8 ppg
Jason Jitoboh, Sophomore, Center, 1.7 ppg
Key New Players:
Tyree Appleby, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Cleveland State
Colin Castleton, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Michigan, pending waiver
Anthony Duruji, Junior, Forward, Transfer from Louisiana Tech
Alex Klatsky, Freshman, Guard
Niels Lane, Freshman, Guard
Jack May, Freshman, Guard
Osayi Osifo, Junior, Forward, JC Transfer
Samaon Ruzhentsey, Freshman, Forward
Keyontae Johnson, a 6-5 junior forward, will again be the team’s best player. He averaged 14.0 points and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore and he should be eyeing SEC Player of the Year accolades. Noah Locke and Scottie Lewis are the other two returning starters. Locke is a great outside shooter and connected on 79 three-pointers during the 2019-2020 campaign. On the year he shot 43.2 percent from three and that number went up to 48.1 percent during SEC action. Lewis did not quite live up to the hype during his freshman campaign, but he showed plenty of potential, averaging 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocks. Fellow sophomores Tre Mann, Ques Glover, Omar Payne and Jason Jitoboh did not make a huge impact as freshmen, but they are a talented group that will push for playing time this season. Tyree Appleby comes from Cleveland State and will look to take over some of the ball handling duties. Two years ago with the Vikings he averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 assists. Coach White also grabbed another proven mid-major transfer in Anthony Duruji. The 6-7 forward averaged 12.2 points and 6.2 rebounds with Louisiana Tech two seasons ago. Add in a solid recruiting class, led by Samaon Ruzhentsey, and Florida should have the depth to compete for an SEC title and potentially make a nice run in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.9 (149th in nation, 9th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.0 (77, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (71, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (129, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.1 (190, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.7 (100, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.3 (127, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.1 (84, 5)
Assists Per Game: 11.9 (270, 11)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.9 (69, 2)
Madness 2021 NBA Draft Rankings:
#22 Scottie Lewis
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#49 Samaon Ruzhentsev
#107 Niels Lane