UF gets commit from Jitoboh, has 3 roster spots left

After back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips fell one win shy of the Sweet 16, the Gators have help on the way in the form of a pair of five-star McDonald’s All-Americans.

Published on Thursday, 3/28/19, at 2:06 p.m. Eastern.

Florida went to Nashville two weeks ago on the bubble. After beating Arkansas and LSU, Mike White’s team lost in controversial fashion to Auburn in the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Nevertheless, the Gators were given a No. 10 seed and promptly sent a veteran Nevada club, one that made the Sweet 16 last year and brought back stars like Cody Martin, Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline, packing in a 70-61 win as 2.5-point underdogs.

UF’s season ended in the Round of 32 for the second straight campaign when Michigan won a 64-49 decision as a seven-point favorite. (The Wolverines have now beaten Florida by double-digit margins in three NCAA Tournament meetings — in 1988, 2013 and 2019.)

Three UF players decided to transfer earlier this week. The exits of Mike Okauru and Deaundrae Ballard were expected, but Keith Stone’s decision to leave was somewhat of a surprise. Stone tore his ACL in January and missed the rest of the season.

With Jalen Hudson, Kevarrius Hayes and KeVaughn Allen departing, the roster is left with three returning starters who will be sophomores. This trio includes Andrew Nembhard, Keyontae Johnson and Noah Locke, who started for a good chunk of the season but was coming off the bench later in the year when Hudson was re-inserted into the lineup.

Other returnees include Isaiah Stokes, Dontay Bassett and Gorjok Gak, who missed this past season with injuries. The 2019 recruiting class is currently ranked 10th nationally at Rivals.com

The group includes a pair of five-star McDonald’s All-Americans in Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis, both of whom are 6’4″ guards. Omar Payne is a 6’9″ center who is a four-star signee out of Monteverde.

Alex Klatsky, a two-star guard (per Rivals.com) out of New Jersey, is a verbal commit. Jason Jitoboh, a 6’11” 270-pound center out of Chattanooga, TN., committed to the Gators earlier today. Jitboh is a three-star player who chose UF over Tennessee and UCF.

This leaves three spots available on the UF roster. Look for two of these to be filled by grad transfers who can contribute right away. The third could go to another transfer who has to sit out a year or an incoming freshman.

Whatever the case, UF will be young and talented in 2019-20. If White can find a pair of veteran grad transfers that fit nicely, the Gators will have expectations beyond the Round of 32 next season.

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