Florida basketball is starting to wake up, and it seems that year two under Todd Golden could be their best season since 2017 when the Gators made the elite eight.
After a rocky first season in Gainesville, Golden went on an absolute tear in the transfer portal, filling every single hole he had on the roster.
To replace Colin Castleton he went out and got a 7-foot center who was the Sun Belt freshman of the year. For additional size, he signed EJ Jarvis out of Yale and Tyrese Samuel from Seton Hall.
And then to fully remake the backcourt, he went and got Walter Clayton Jr. from Iona, and most recently, Zyon Pullin from UC Riverside.
With all these additions, this is how I see the Gators starting lineup shaping out:
PG: Walter Clayton Jr.
SG: Zyon Pullin
SF: Riley Kugel
PF: EJ Jarvis
C: Micah Handlogten
I have Jarvis over Samuel at PF because my hunch is that Golden will opt for a more spread-out, shooting-centered offense in his starting five, with the physical and defensive presence of Samuel off the bench.
Will Richard will also be demoted to the bench, which I think will take a lot of pressure off of him to be an elite scorer and make him much more efficient for the Gators.
So, with this starting five in mind, how good can this Gators team be?
It isn’t a big exaggeration to say that UF’s roster is now one of the best in the SEC. And we saw Todd Golden in two games against Kentucky last year, in my opinion at least, out coach John Calipari in games that were decided by the talent on the floor.
So, just to get to the point, this Gator team can be very, very good.
Not making the tournament would be an even bigger embarrassment than it has been. I’d argue not making it out of the first weekend would be pretty bad as well.
But I don’t want to focus on the potential negatives of an early exit. Let’s focus on the positive that is Gator hoops looking like they’re ready to storm back onto the national stage.
Keep up with Florida basketball at Hail Florida Hail.