Florida pulled in its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Monday as Class of 2018 five-star point guard Andrew Nembhard pledged to the Gators on Twitter.
A poised floor general and solid passer with good size and instincts, the 6-foot-4 Nembhard reclassified from the Class of 2019 earlier this year. The No. 26 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national rankings, the Canadian point guard is a strong first commitment for Florida in this class as he’ll help offset the loss of senior Chris Chiozza.
Nembhard is also an important pledge for head coach Mike White as he’s perhaps the strongest point guard that the coach has recruited to date. With the Gators coming off of an Elite Eight appearance and returning plenty of talent this season, it looks like White could have things going pretty well at Florida over the next few years.
Florida junior forward Devin Robinson will declare for the 2017 NBA Draft and sign with an agent.
The 6-foot-8 Robinson was one of the most versatile frontcourt players in the country by the end of last season as he emerged as a major threat on both ends of the floor. Robinson averaged 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game as a junior as he helped Florida advance to the Elite Eight. Robinson shot 47 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three-point range last season.
Without Robinson, Florida’s stock drops quite a bit for next season as they’ll have to replace him in the front court. The Gators could still be in position to be one of the better teams in the country but the loss of Robinson is going to sting.
South Carolina is heading to its first Final Four in school history after a 77-70 win over No. 4 seed Florida in the East Region on Sunday.
But the No. 7 seed Gamecocks’ historic win also came with some late controversy.
With South Carolina clinging to a 70-68 lead with 53.7 seconds left, the Gamecocks opted to make an extremely risky full-court pass on an inbounds play. The pass was caught at the other end of the floor by South Carolina’s Duane Notice.
Then Notice took about four or five steps before he was fouled by Florida’s Chris Chiozza to send him to the line.
It looks like Notice had a pretty blatant travel on the play. It’s a ridiculous catch in traffic that has to make South Carolina football fans proud, but Notice is clearly walking after getting the ball. Notice knocked down two free throws after Chiozza’s foul to make it a two-possession game as it became 72-68 with 50 seconds left.
Florida was obviously flat in the second half and didn’t deserve to win on Sunday. But it makes you wonder what might have happened if a travel was called on Notice. The Gators would have had a chance to tie with under a minute left instead of it being a two-possession game.
Vanderbilt snapped a four-game losing streak by using a strong second half to take down No. 21 Florida, 68-66, on Saturday afternoon in the SEC.
The Commodores (9-10, 3-4) shot 46 percent from the field and nailed 10 three-pointers as Matthew Fisher-Davis led four double-figure scorers with 19 points. For a young team with a new coach in Bryce Drew, this is a solid victory that he can build off of as his team did a great job of executing offense down the stretch.
This is a bad loss at home for No. 19 Florida (14-5, 5-2) and doesn’t help the weak national reputation of the SEC. Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen lit it up for 29 points for the Gators but Devin Robinson (12 points) was the only other Florida player who finished with double-figures.
As we’ve seen from the Gators the past three seasons, they’re incredibly inconsistent and they have a tendency to show up flat at inopportune times. A lot of that falls on the lack of quality point guard play and the lack of development from former McDonald’s All-American Kasey Hill. Hill isn’t the only Florida player who needs to step up for them to maximize their potential, but this is his final stretch of college ball after an underwhelming career.
Right now, Florida is in position to break a two-year NCAA tournament drought, but losses like this can’t happen again at home if the Gators want to get back in the field.
Florida freshman forward Dontay Bassett is out for the season with a stress fracture, according to a release from the school.
Bassett will require surgery in his right foot and his projected recovery time will be four-to-six months. The injury will force Bassett to redshirt the 2016-17 season.
A three-star recruit coming out of Oldsmar Christian in Florida, the 6-foot-9 forward wasn’t expected to be a big contributor during his first year with the Gators, but his loss does hurt some of the team’s frontcourt depth. With John Egbunu, Devin Robinson, Justin Leon and Kevarrius Hayes all returning, the Gators should have plenty of players to use in the frontcourt this season without Bassett.
Once Bassett is healthy and able to play next season he showed good athleticism and an ability to hit the glass hard while he was in high school. Bassett should be able to join Florida’s rotation as an energy defender and rebounder right away.
Florida lost an important commitment on Monday as four-star guard Shai Alexander decommitted from the Gators, according to multiple reports.
The 6-foot-4 point guard is opening things up but still keeping Florida in the picture, according to Scout.com’s Brian Snow and Alexander’s decommitment is a major blow for the Gators. Regarded as the No. 53 overall prospect in the national Class of 2017, Alexander was the highest-ranked Florida commitment since Devin Robinson in the Class of 2014 — and the best in Mike White’s Florida career.
Alexander opening things up is going to be interesting since so many teams are looking for ball handlers who can make plays. Florida is obviously going to want Alexander to be part of its recruiting class but other big programs could get in the picture with so many other guards already being off the board.