The exodus of Mike White to the University of Georgia signified a new era of Florida Gator basketball, as San Francisco coach Todd Golden took over in Gainesville. The former St. Mary’s guard amassed 20 or more wins in two of his three seasons with the Dons. Golden guided San Francisco to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 and their 24 wins are the most by the program since the 1981-1982 season.
As Golden took over for the Gators, he prioritized the transfer portal for a Florida squad that missed the Big Dance for the first time since 2016. Despite the departure of four Gators, most notably Tyree Appleby and Keyontae Johnson, Golden compiled a top-10 transfer class in Gainesville.
FLORIDA TRANSFER ADDITIONS:
KYLE LOFTON, ST. BONAVENTURE
12.8 PTS / 3.6 REB / 5.9 AST / 2.0 STL
WILL RICHARD, BELMONT
12.1 PTS / 6.0 REB / 1.8 AST / 46.8% FG
TREY BONHAM, VMI
13.6 PTS / 4.4 REB / 4.0 AST / 47.8% FG
ALEX FUDGE, LSU
3.3 PTS / 3.2 REB / 42.4% FG
Three of the four portal pledges for the Gators were all-conference performers this past season, highlighting the talent heading to Gainesville. Kyle Lofton is a three-time All-Atlantic 10 performer, while VMI transfer Trey Bonham received all-conference honors in both seasons in the SoCon.
Richard, the All-Freshman selection, and Fudge, who spent one season in Baton Rouge, both head to Florida after freshman seasons, equipping the Gators with a bright future. Richard supplies the Gators with an elite scoring presence, while Fudge provides an impactful defensive performer and has tremendous upside as a 19-year old sophomore.
The experience and success that Lofton, Richard, and Bonham bring will pair well with returnees Colin Castleton and Myreon Jones to form a veteran-laden roster. Lofton, a four-year starter, will be the floor general for the Gators, while the remaining transfer trio will vie for a position in the starting lineup.
As the Gators look to replace graduates Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Brandon McKissic along with transfer Tyree Appleby, Todd Golden has been successful on the recruiting trail. In addition to the portal success, four-star Riley Kugel (No. 40 nationally) committed to the Gators last month, one of two newcomers in a top-50 class. Although two Gator commits headed elsewhere following the coaching change, Golden hauled in Kugel who looks to be a solid piece in the Florida rotation.
With the Gators looking to rebound from a missed NCAA Tournament birth in 2022, the success and upside of the incoming transfers looks to help bring Florida back to familiar territory.
As Todd Golden makes his Power 5 head coaching debut, here’s what The Portal Report expects the starting lineup to look like for the Gators.
TPR’S PROJECTED LINEUP FOR MARYLAND:
KYLE LOFTON, G
MYREON JONES, G
KOWACIE REEVES, G
ALEX FUDGE, F
COLIN CASTLETON, C