Gators become overnight contenders with addition of Blackshear Jr.

Jun 27, 2019 | 0 comments

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p>It’s been an eventful off-season for the Florida Gators men’s basketball team since they saw their season cut short in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It started with the transfers of three players in the span of just a couple days. If that wasn't bad enough, it took a turn for the worse when Andrew Nembhard announced he would test the NBA Draft waters.

Fortunately for Florida, the Gators gained some good news when the point guard opted to return for his sophomore year.

If that wasn't enough, now Mike White and the Gators have made one of the biggest splashes of the college basketball off-season.

On Tuesday, Kerry Blackshear Jr., a grad transfer from Virginia Tech, announced via social media that he is transferring to Florida for his final year of eligibility. The forward isn’t just any grad transfer either, he was the top ranked transfer available this off-season.

Last season at Virginia Tech, Blackshear Jr.’s per game averages were 14.9 points, 7. 5 rebounds, 2.4 assists while shooting 51% from the field. His offensive numbers stand out for a Florida team that struggled offensively in the paint a year ago. With the addition of Blackshear Jr, the Gators now have a big with the ability to score with his back to the basket and stretch out to the three-point line.

At 6-foot-10 Blackshear Jr. also provides the Gators some much needed height. His  length should fit right into what White wants his team to do defensively and he’s more than capable of anchoring the paint.

After testing draft waters, Blackshear Jr. opted to return to school, but likely transfer from Virginia Tech. The others in the mix for the Orlando native’s services were Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. That makes this even bigger of a win for the Gators, because now they don’t have to play him potentially multiple times next year. That’s especially the case had he chose the Wildcats or Volunteers, who the Gators didn’t beat last year.

Now with Blackshear Jr.’s services, the expectations for the Gators have skyrocketed.

His addition gives White one of, if not the best offensive big men he’s had during his tenure in Gainesville. And as a whole, this roster may be one of White’s best as well. With a returning core of young players, two five-star talents arriving to campus soon, and now a solidified big, the Gators project to be legitimate contenders in the 2019-2020 season.

Tags: Sport

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