Florida hoops loses forward CJ Felder indefinitely

Florida men’s basketball head coach Todd Golden said that forward CJ Felder would be away from the team for an indefinite period of time on Friday during his media availability.

Although the reason for Felder’s leave of absence is unknown, Golden made sure to clarify that Florida wasn’t punishing him in any way. In fact, reports from 247Sports’ Graham Hall and Jacob Rudner suggest that Florida didn’t want Felder to leave the team and that the decision was personal.

Golden remarked that the door was left open for Felder’s return if he wanted to, but the expectation is that he will be out for the remainder of the season. He’s not expected to be on the bench for Saturday’s contest against No. 20 Missouri.

Felder began the 2022-23 campaign as Florida’s starting power forward but slowly lost the job to Alex Fudge. After averaging just under 17 minutes a game as a starter, Felder’s playtime was cut in half to 8:45 a game off the bench. Most recently, he played just two minutes for the Gators against Georgia.

He spent the first two years of his college career at Boston College before transferring to UF. He served as a rotational big man for the Gators in 2021-22 under Mike White with Anthony Duruji ahead of him. Felder was supposed to be a major player for Golden in Year 1 but that hasn’t come together.

With Felder gone, the Gators will move forward with Fudge as the starter and look to utilize a small-ball lineup when necessary. It’s been tricky for Golden to get Kowacie Reeves and Will Richard playing time, so he may look to utilize some of their length at the four spot with Felder away.

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