UF’s Johnson, Lewis returning, but Nembhard and Mann testing NBA waters

After averaging 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.2 blocked shots per game as a freshman, Florida’s Scottie Lewis elected to return to school for his sophomore campaign.

Published on Wednesday, 4/29/20, at 12:24 p.m. Eastern.

All of the early offseason news was good for Mike White and the Florida Gators’ 2020-21 basketball team.

First, rising sophomore Scottie Lewis announced he’ll be coming back for a second year at UF. Seven days later, rising junior wing Keyontae Johnson joined Lewis in pledging to be back at UF next season.

However, rising junior point guard Andrew Nembhard and rising sophomore wing Tre Mann recently announced that they’ll both test the NBA waters. Neither player plans to sign with an agent, so both could return to school.

Most believe Mann is going to come back and simply seeking feedback on what facets of his game he needs to improve upon. Mann and Lewis were 5-star recruits, but neither made as big of an impact as most had hoped as true freshmen.

Nembhard also tested the waters last year before opting to return for his sophomore campaign. He has a slim chance of being drafted, but the first five-star prospect that White signed during his tenure could opt for the new G-League developmental program.

Whatever the case, UF is prepared to move on from Nembhard thanks to the presence of Tyree Appleby, who sat out this past year after transferring to UF from Cleveland State. Appleby averaged 17.2 points, 5.6 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game as a sophomore for the Vikings in 2018-19. There’s also rising sophomore point guard Ques Glover, who showed flashes of potential in limited action as a true freshman.

Florida will also add forward Anthony Duruji, who sat out 2019-20 after transferring from White’s former school, La. Tech. Duruji averaged 12.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots for the Bulldogs two seasons ago.

Dontay Bassett transferred out of the program and Kerry Blackshear Jr. exhausted his eligibility during his one-and-done season in Gainesville. Nevertheless, rising sophomore ‘bigs’ Omar Payne and Jason Jitoboh are poised for bigger roles.

In other UF news this past weekend, Michigan power forward Colin Castleton announced that’s he transferring to Florida. The rising junior out of Daytona Beach averaged 3.4 points and 2.7 RPG this past season. Unless he’s able to win an appeal, the 6-foot-11, 235-pound former four-star recruit will have to sit out the 2020-21 year.

Florida finished this past year 19-12 overall and 11-7 in SEC play for a fourth-place finish in the regular-season standings. Most bracketologists had UF pegged as a No. 9 seed in the 2020 NCAA Tournament when it was going into its SEC Tournament second-round matchup vs. Arkansas that was cancelled to end the year.

In his Way-Too-Early Top-45 Rankings, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports has the Gators ranked No. 17. DraftKings has Florida with 20/1 odds to win the 2020 NCAA Tournament.

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