Biggest questions surrounding Gators basketball entering the offseason

Landon Watnick, Beat Writer
Inside the Gators

USA Today Sports Images



* Despite bitter finish, Florida had highly successful season

* Basketball Post-Season Superlatives



The Florida men’s basketball team’s 2016-17 season came to a close last Sunday, as the No. 4 seed Gators fell to No. 7 seed South Carolina 77-70 in the Elite Eight on Sunday in Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Following an impressive second season under the leadership of Mike White, the Gators should still return a strong roster heading into the 2017-18 campaign but face a number of questions heading into the offseason. Now, Inside the Gators takes a closer look at those storylines worth following.

Will Devin Robinson return to school for his senior season?

According to a report Friday from the Gainesville Sun, Robinson plans to declare for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent - the same move he took last offseason before eventually returning. The report mentioned Robinson "leaning toward leaving" but that he's waiting to get feedback before he reaches a final decision.

Many argue he should stay, but it's no secret that Robinson, a former five-star, is a player who has had his eye on the next level for quite some time now. He tested the NBA Draft waters after last season but backed out once doctors revealed he had a stress fracture in his foot.

Robinson is fresh off of a solid junior season, one where he really opened some eyes with his play on the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament (with a combined 38 points and 18 rebounds against ETSU and Virginia). At 6-foot-8, 200 pounds, he’s a long, athletic forward with talent in the tank, but he still needs to get a bit stronger. At times, he can take a backseat offensively, and during conference play he was somewhat inconsistent from the floor. He’s gotten better on the defensive end and at going up stronger for rebounds, though.

If he does stay, then Florida would be over the limit scholarship-wise at 14 with four 2017 recruits either signed or committed currently. That’s if nobody else on the roster were to leave. Not a ton of mock drafts have Robinson rated incredibly highly, with some currently listing him as a second-rounder and others having him going undrafted.

Robinson has until May 24, 10 days following the conclusion of the NBA Draft Combine, to reach a final decision.

If John Egbunu returns to school as many now expect, will he miss the start of the 2017-18 season - and if so how much of it? When he returns, how effective will he be?

After suffering a torn ACL against Auburn on February 14, Egbunu underwent surgery a few weeks later once the swelling went down. The team announced after the injury was diagnosed that the timeframe for Egbunu’s recovery would be projected at 10-12 months. If that holds, Egbunu could return anywhere between around mid-December to the latter half of conference action in February or early March.

How quickly Egbunu’s recovery process goes this offseason will be worth keeping tabs on. The Gators won’t have anybody on the roster in 2017-18 who sports Egbunu’s frame at 6-foot-11, 255 pounds – unless Gorjok Gak (6-11, 231) makes major gains in the weight room this offseason. Kevarrius Hayes (6-9, 218), Keith Stone (6-8, 240) and Dontay Bassett (6-9, 222) are among some of the other returning frontcourt options, while the Gators are set to bring in 6-foot-8, 250-pound center Isaiah Stokes from the 2017 recruiting class.

How much attrition will we see from the roster this offseason?

We touched on some of this above. With Florida losing three seniors on scholarship (Kasey Hill, Justin Leon, Canyon Barry) but having four 2017 signees either committed (Michael Okauru) or signed right now (Chase Johnson, DeAundrae Ballard and Stokes), Florida right now is projected at one above the NCAA's scholarship limit of 13.

Who is the odd man out? Is it Robinson, who has had his eye on the draft for some time? Or is it another player on the roster or committed who may come as a surprise?

Allen had a promising sophomore season but seems good to return, while the torn ACL could have put the professional level on hold for Egbunu. Chris Chiozza, Hayes, Stone, Gak and Eric Hester all saw the floor this past season and figure to do so next year, while Jalen Hudson and Bassett could also crack the rotation following redshirt seasons in 2016-17.


Thank you for reading this Inside the Gators article. To discuss it, please visit the Alligator Alley Forum.


Celebrate Florida's improbable run to the Elite Eight with this commemorative t-shirt. Great for men and women. CLICK HERE


What to Read Next