Florida Gators CBB Preview

Florida Gators CBB Preview 101
  • Head Coach: Mike White (seventh season)
  • 2020-21 Record: 15-10 (9-7)
  • Notable Wins: vs. Tennessee, at. West Virginia, vs. Virginia Tech

Florida took a step back during the 2020-21 season. The Gators won five of their first six games before a rough conference start slowed things down. A huge 75-49 over Tennessee led to a four-game win streak that concluded with them winning their Big 12-SEC Challenge against West Virginia.

Florida Gators CBB Preview

They ended the regular season winning four out of their final seven, before falling to Tennessee in the first round of the SEC tournament. This left Florida on the bubble, and they were blessed with an invite to the Big Dance. The Gators avoided heartbreak in the first round by defeating Virginia Tech in overtime, but they couldn’t avoid an upset from 15-seeded Oral Roberts.

Roster Changes:

  • Key Returners: F Keyontae Johnson, F Colin Castleton, G Tyree Appleby
  • Key Losses: G Tre Mann, G Noah Locke, G Scottie Lewis
  • Key Newcomers: G Kowasie Reeves, F C.J. Felder, G Myreon Jones

Mike White’s roster lost a lot of guard play from last year’s so-so-season. Leading scorer Tre Mann decided to turn pro after a breakout sophomore season. The crafty guard averaged 16.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, and a team-leading 3.5 apg. Mann did it all for Gators, and his presence will be sorely missed. Guard Noah Locke transferred to Louisville after scoring 10.6 ppg, while former five-star recruit Scottie Lewis elected to turn pro.

Florida Gators CBB preview Coach Mike White

Coach White did recoup a little bit through the transfer portal. The addition of former Penn State guard Myreon Jones will aide the loss of Mann in the backcourt. The 6’3 guard led the Nittany Lions in scoring with 15.3 points per game and three-point shooting (39.5).

Jones should have a big role immediately. C.J. Felder will transfer over from Boston College and bolster the front court. The 6’7 forward averaged 9.7 ppg and 5.9 rpg last season, and scored a career-high 24 points in a road loss to Duke. Four-star recruit Kowasie Reeves will enter with a chance to contribute early and often on the wing.

Although they lost their leading scorer, the Gators do return a good chunk of last year’s production. The return of Keyontae Johnson will be huge. The 6’5 forward missed the majority of the season after an on-court injury against Florida State.

Johnson averaged 14.1 during the 2019-20 season, and he scored a career-high 24 points against Boston College last year. Colin Castleton will return for his senior season to patrol the middle. The 6’11 forward averaged 12.4 ppg, led the Gators in rebounding (6.4) and recorded double-doubles in both NCAA Tournament games, including posting an impressive 19/14 line against Virginia Tech.

Lead guard Tyree Appleby also returned for his senior season. In his first year in Gainesville, he averaged 11.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, and 3.3 apg. Anthony Duruji and Omar Payne bring depth and experience to the frontcourt. Duruji played big minutes in the final stretch of the season, averaging 6.1 ppg and 4.4 rpg.

Outlook

  • Projected Lineup: G Myreon Jones G Tyree Appleby F Keyontae Johnson, F C.J. Felder, F Colin Castleton
  • Projected Finish: 4th in SEC, NCAA Tournament Bid

Florida will feel the loss of Tre Mann early, but the return of Keyontae Johnson and the addition of Myreon Jones may propel this team to new heights. When Johnson went down, most of the Gators offense would come from their backcourt, and they lacked an aggressive presence inside.

This season with both Johnson and C.J. Felder in the fold, along with a returning Colin Castleton, Florida will be built to win from the inside out. The starting backcourt of Jones and Tyree Appleby will be solid and experienced, giving the Gators one of the stronger lineups in the SEC. Florida will contend for a conference championship, and a return to the Big Dance is likely.

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