With seven players departing from UF’s roster following a loss to Oral Roberts in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Florida coach Mike White had little choice but to turn to the transfer portal to find production. It was quite a haul, as he landed four of the most highly coveted transfer options in college basketball.
The Gators have a patchwork roster heading into 2021-22, and turning a group of newcomers into a cohesive team will perhaps White’s greatest coaching challenge yet.
Still, it’s a talented team in Gainesville once again, and Florida will hope this is the year it can finally escape the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017. And according to ESPN, UF is one of the winners of the transfer season after retooling its roster.
While each player posted impressive offensive numbers, the transfer quartet Mike White brought in via the portal might be the best defensive class in the country. CJ Felder (Boston College) blocked 2.2 shots per game and was one of the best defensive players in the ACC; Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (Charleston Southern) was the Defensive Player of the Year in the Big South; and Brandon McKissic (UMKC) won Summit League Defensive Player of the Year honors. Oh, and Myreon Jones averaged 15.3 points at Penn State, shooting nearly 40% from 3.
White’s teams are usually pretty solid defensively, but this could be one of the best he’s had yet. Felder was a dominant defender in a power conference, and Fleming and McKissic were their conference’s defensive player of the year.
Meanwhile, the Gators will hope that Jones can replace some of outgoing first-round pick Tre Mann’s production. Jones was the leading scorer at Penn State last season.
If these pieces struggle to gel together, it could be a tough year in Gainesville. But if Florida ends its season in disappointing fashion once more, it won’t be for a lack of talent.
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