Gators add a pair of transfers, including Canyon Barry
Published on Wednesday, 6/15/16, at 3:55 p.m. Eastern.
Florida’s roster has continued to undergo turnover since the team’s loss at George Washington in the NIT quarterfinals.
Dorian Finney-Smith was a senior who is gone and likely to be selected at some point in the second round of the upcoming NBA Draft. Alex Murphy, the team’s other only senior, is waiting to hear back from the NCAA on his appeal for a sixth season of eligibility.
Two players elected to transfer — DeVon Walker and Brandone Francis-Ramirez. Walker has joined the Troy program and will be immediately eligible as a grad transfer. Francis-Ramirez elected to finish his career at Texas Tech earlier this week.
Walker was a key reserve for the Gators’ 2013-2014 Final Four squad, shooting well late in the season. His length as a two-guard made him a valuable defender. But Walker tore his ACL and had to redshirt during Billy Donovan’s last season at UF in 2014-2015. He started the first four games for Mike White’s team this past year, but he fell out of the rotation due to his poor shooting.
Francis-Ramirez had to sit out Donovan’s last campaign due to academic issues. Like Walker, Francis-Ramirez fell out of the rotation midway through the SEC slate because he couldn’t buy a jumper, but he will bring plenty of size and athleticism to the Red Raiders when he’s able to suit up in 2017-2018.
Those defections have paved the way for White to add a pair of transfers, including College of Charleston’s Canyon Barry, who will be able to play right away as a grad transfer. Before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury after 13 games this past year, Barry was averaging 19.7 points per game for the Cougars. He is the son of the legendary Rick Barry and shoots his free throws underhanded like his old man.
UF has also added Va. Tech’s Jalen Hudson, who will have to sit out the upcoming campaign. Hudson, a 6-foot-5 guard out of Richmond, averaged 7.7 points and 2.1 rebounds per game during two seasons with the Hokies. He dropped 32 points on Wake Forest and 23 on Duke as a freshman. During his lone year with Buzz Williams in Blacksburg, Hudson scored 28 against Princeton and 27 against Louisville.
Devin Robinson and John Egbunu have been recovering from offseason surgeries, but both players will be ready in the fall. Both are likely starters along with rising sophomore swingman KeVaughn Allen. White shuffled Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza in and out of the starting lineup last year. They’ll vie for the starting point-guard spot, but White doesn’t mind playing both of them simultaneously.
Before suffering a concussion in a loss at Vanderbilt, Justin Leon was enjoying an excellent first year at UF. Leon wasn’t the same player when he returned after missing a few games, but he’ll be a key contributor again.
Keith Stone redshirted last season to bulk up in the weight room and he’ll compete for playing time at the four position. Kevarrius Hayes, a rising sophomore, showed some life in the NIT after Egbunu was sidelined with the thumb injury sustained the day before the SEC Tournament started. Schuyler Rimmer provides another big body to give White more interior depth.
All of the aforementioned players will be joined by a pair of incoming freshmen in Eric Hester and Dontay Bassett. Hester, a 6-foot-3 guard, is a four-star prospect who should contribute right away.
UF will play its non-conference home games all across the state as the O’Dome undergoes a $65 million facelift. The venue was given a new name last week – Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.