As the Florida Gators men’s basketball program awaits the return of college hoops, Mike White found out Saturday that his next team will look much different.
After declaring for the NBA Draft in April, Florida’s starting point guard Andrew Nembhard announced he will not be returning to Gainesville.
However, the two-year starter won’t be going pro, he will instead seek to transfer.
As the Gators will now need someone to step up as their new primary ball-handler, Inside The Gators looks at what this means for Florida Basketball going forward.
Why transfer instead of going pro?
When the news of his intention to transfer broke, it came as a shock to most. The general opinion was that Nembhard was likely doing what he had done the previous year and entering his name in the draft to receive feedback about his potential as an NBA prospect. However, when Nembhard pulled his name from the draft, he knew he wasn’t going back to Gainesville this time.
What went on behind the scenes in Nembhard’s possible return is something only he and the Florida coaching staff know. Did he want to come back? Was he wanted back? Was his spot taken? Etc. Etc. There’s a world of questions behind this situation, but the only answer we have is that Nembhard’s days as a Gator are finished.
In his time at Florida, the Canadian started all 67 games he played in, accruing 636 points (9.5 PPG) and 367 assists (5.5 APG). There is no denying his ability, so he will likely have a number of suitors, including big-time programs. Only time will tell, but maybe a change of scenery was best for all involved.
As it’s now life after Nembhard for the Gators, someone will rise up as their new point guard and primary ball-handler. With Tre Mann still yet to make his decision on whether he will return to campus or go pro, he can’t fully be factored in as the guy.
If Mann stays or goes, White still has options for his new point guard. The most likely possibility being one that sat on the bench the entire 19-20 season.
Now eligible in 2020, Tyree Appelby may be the best option to be the Gators next primary ball-handler. As a score-first point guard, Appelby gives Florida a ball-handler that can make things happen for himself while getting others involved.
Before transferring to Florida, Appelby was a do-it-all guard for Cleveland State. He scored 899 points (14.3 PPG), surpassing 20-plus points in 14 games and had 237 assists before his transfer. A streaky-scorer that can also pass could be just what the doctor ordered as the Gators next point guard.
And of course, it wouldn’t be fair to count out Ques Glover. The Tennessee native had an average freshman campaign and will need to improve in some regards. Glover isn’t quite the threat offensively as Appelby or Mann, but he could make a name for himself in the point guard battle by being a distributor. He has no problem running the floor with great pace, if he can take the next step of running the full offense and getting his teammates involved, the job could be his.
Regardless of who is the primary ball-handler for Florida, you can expect a change in the team’s pace next year. Their point guard options are all guys who can run the floor and push in transition. He may have been told so, but there were too many times Nembhard slowed the Gators pace rather than pushing for transition points.
It’s no secret that next year’s squad will be led by the likes of Keyontae Johnson, Noah Locke, and Scottie Lewis. However, the Gators need to find the right guy to run the show at point, or they may be on their way to another disappointing season.