Florida, in its second season under Mike White, looks to be a team that many think can vie for a top spot in the SEC behind Kentucky. Mike White had success before at Louisiana Tech and has enough talent at Florida this season to make a run through the SEC.
It starts in the backcourt for the Florida Gators where they have a trio of returning guards, Kasey Hill, KeVaughn Allen, and Chris Chiozza, who are all capable in contributing in different ways. Chiozza is more of the assist man and can facilitate the offense. KeVaughn Allen was one of the more versatile guards in the SEC last year and will score a good bit of Florida’s points this season. The senior, Kasey Hill, is a good combination of scoring and passing ability and should mix both this season along with invaluable senior leadership. Throw College of Charleston transfer Canyon Barry in the mix and the Gators will have a quality backcourt with plenty of fire power this season.
While the backcourt brings a combined 47.6 PPG from last season, the big men on the Florida Gators will have to be a factor for the Gators to lay claim to one of the top spots in the SEC. Former 5-star and SEC All-Freshman team member Devin Robinson has seen even more improvement according to Mike White. Robinson will play alongside fellow junior John Egbunu to form a duo of potential double-double machines. Egbunu averaged 11.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG last season and should see those numbers increase this year, especially on the glass. Both Egbunu and Robinson will have to fill in for Dorian Finney-Smith but with the help of Justin Leon as well, the three should be able to make up for the lost production of Finney-Smith.
The Florida Gators have enough talent to cover the entire floor this season and Mike Whit will have plenty of skill to play with. Playing away from a true home arena could prove difficult for the Gators during the non-conference schedule, but aside from a few tough matchups, they should be able to handle business. Things won’t be as easy in conference play as Florida will have to travel to play Arkansas, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi State, Auburn, Kentucky, and Vanderbilt who could all be in the top half of the league this season.
If Mike White can put together the talent the Gators have this season and make his way back to the NCAA Tournament, he’ll be off to a good start in replacing the legacy of Billy Donovan in Gainesville.
#2 Eric Hester, 6’3” 4-star G from Oldsmar Christian
#21 Dontay Bassett, 6’9” 3-star F from Oldsmar Christian
#24 Canyon Barry, 6’6” G from College of Charleston
#25 Keith Stone, 6’8” 4-star F from Zion Lutheran
#0 Kasey Hill, 6’1” G - Averaged 9.1 PPG and 3.3 APG last season
#1 Devin Robinson, 6’8” F - Former 5-star recruit whom Mike White says is much improved
#5 KeVaughn Allen, 6’2” G - Leading returning scorer with 11.6 PPG last season
#11 Chris Chiozza, 6’0” G - Led team with 4.3 APG and added 7.2 PPG last season
#15 John Egbunu, 6’11” C - Averaged 11.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG last season
#23 Justin Leon, 6’8” F - Forward who has the ability to take and hit the outside shot
#24 Canyon Barry, 6’6” G - Led the CAA conference with 19.7 PPG last season
2016-2017 Season Predictions
|Florida Gulf Coast||W|
|Miami/Stanford/Iowa State/Indiana St.||W|
|@ Florida State||L|
|vs Arkansas Little Rock||W|
|vs Ole Miss||W|
|@ South Carolina||L|
|vs Texas A&M||W|
|@ Mississippi State||L|
|vs South Carolina||W|
- Will play most of their non-conference games at neutral sites across Florida while renovations to the O’Connell Center are finished