Colin Castleton is back after leading Florida in scoring (16.2 points per game) and rebounding (9.0 per game). The Gators were 16-12 when Castleton was on the court. He averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds in wins over ranked Florida State and Auburn teams.
However, three of the top four scorers off last season’s team have moved on. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Anthoy Duruji graduated while Tyree Appleby transferred to Wake Forest.
Elijah Kennedy and Tuongthach Gatkek both transferred to Texas State while Keyontae Johnson is now at Kansas State. None of them averaged more than 10 minutes per game, but their departures did hurt the depth of the Gators.
The key to the season could be how quickly incoming transfers Trey Bonham (Virginia Military Institute), Alex Fudge (LSU), Will Richard (Belmont), and Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure) adjust to the new system.
Florida was just 4-7 in true road games a season ago and finished 2-7 against ranked teams, although a 63-62 win over No. 2 Auburn was a highlight of the 2021-22 season.
The Gators fell to Texas A&M in its SEC tournament opener and that led to Florida playing in the NIT rather than earning a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Florida is priced at +5000 in the odds to win the national championship per the college basketball odds.
- 2021-22 record: 20-14
- 2021-22 SEC Record: 9-9
- Coach: Todd Golden
- Odds to win national title: +5000
The good news for Florida is a coaching change occurred due to Mike White leaving to take over at Georgia, so it is not as if Todd Golden has to build the program from scratch.
Castleton will be one of the best big men in the SEC. Expect more from Myreon Jones, who averaged 8.5 points in his first season at Florida after transferring from Penn State. Perhaps Kpwacie Reeves and Jason Jitoboh will take on bigger roles after averaging 15.5 and 10.7 minutes per game a season ago.
Keep an eye on the transfers.
Lofton averaged 13.9 points, 5.2 assists and 2.1 steals over his four seasons at St. Bonaventure. He was rated as the 23rd-best incoming transfer according to the 247sports.com database. Bonham went from averaging 8.6 to 13.6 points as a sophomore at VMI, Fudge could see more action after being limited to 13.9 minutes per contest as a freshman at LSU, while Richard averaged 12.1 points on 47% shooting as a freshman at Belmont.
Florida’s recruiting class was only ranked 11th in the SEC so it remains to be seen what role forward Aleks Szymczyk and guards Riley Kugel and Denzel Aberdeen will have this season. The early reports are promising on Kugel.
— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) October 13, 2022
There are a lot of moving parts for Florida with a new coach, some key departures, and four incoming transfers.
Florida seems to be a little underrated coming into the season as 37 teams have more points in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll. There could be some bumpy times early in the season as the Gators get used to a new system and new teammates.
Opening SEC play at Auburn will be no easy task. The good news is that a non-conference schedule that includes games against Florida State, UConn and Oklahoma in addition to possible matchups with Duke and Gonzaga should prepare the Gators for the rough-and-tumble SEC.
The Jan. 7 game, when White brings his Georgia team to Gainesville, should make for an interesting afternoon at the O’Connell Center.
2022 Florida Schedule
- Season opener: vs Stony Brook, Nov. 7, 7;30 p.m. ET
- SEC opener: at Auburn, Dec. 28, 7 p.m. ET
Other Games to Watch
- at Florida State, Nov. 18, 8 p.m. ET
- vs Xavier (at Portland, Ore.), Nov. 24, 5:30 p.m. ET
- vs Duke or Oregon State (at Portland, Ore.), Nov. 25, time TBA
- vs UConn, Dec. 7, 9 p.m.
- vs Ohio (at Tampa, Fla.), Dec. 14, time TBA
- vs Oklahoma (at Charlotte, N.C.), Dec. 20, 9:30 p.m. ET
- vs Texas A&M, Jan. 4, 7 p.m. ET
- vs Georgia, Jan. 7, 1 p.m. ET
- at LSU, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. ET
- vs South Carolina, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. ET
- at Kansas State, Jan. 28, 6 p.m. ET
- vs Tennessee, Feb. 21, 7 p.m. ET
- at Kentucky, Feb. 4, 8:30 p.m. ET
- at Alabama, Feb. 8, 9 p.m. ET
- at Arkansas, Feb. 18, 2 p.m. ET
- vs Kentucky, Feb.22, 7 p.m. ET
- vs LSU, March 4, 6 p.m. ET