High expectations are floating around Gainesville this season, and with good reason. The Florida Gators look to expand on last year’s loss to Louisville in the Elite Eight with veteran players, key transfers, and a challenging non-conference slate. Experienced returnees Kenny Boynton, a preseason all-SEC First Team pick earlier this week, Erik Murphy, a three year letterman and post defender with good perimeter range, and reserve Scottie Wilbekin, a deadly three-point shooter at over 45%, lead the charge as the Gators will challenge Kentucky and Missouri for the SEC crown.
While the departures from last year’s team only includes Bradley Beal and Erving Walker (a combined 26.9 points per game on 42.1% shooting), the Gators will miss Beal’s steadiness on the floor and his play-making ability. But the Gators will also miss Walker’s production in almost every offensive category, most notably scoring (12.4 PPG), distribution (1.8 ATO), and durability (30.3 MPG). Head coach Billy Donovan has regrouped nicely after the losses of these two players, snagging transfers Dorian Finney-Smith, a 6’8″ sophomore forward from Virginia Tech, and 6’10″ forward Damontre Harris from conference foe South Carolina. Both players will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules but will be great practice acquisitions this year.