Keith Stone: Breakdown

Keith Stone has received far less exposure than the great majority of high-major seniors, but don't allow that to deceive you: He can play.

Even in today's modern college game with its annual, sensational freshmen, teams such as Connecticut and Louisville have enjoyed immense success on the basis of talented, experienced squads.

That's perhaps the best way to assess Keith Stone's commitment to Florida. A solidly built forward who could end up spending time both inside and on the perimeter, Stone projects as a versatile and extremely valuable four-year player. Despite a late emergence onto the radar, Florida was very happy to lock him up rather than try to wait until spring while the Gators sort through some roster overload.

Stone is at his best competing in a utility role, opportunistically scoring, rebounding, making plays for others and stepping up on defense. Stone doesn't possess extraordinary quickness or straight-up leaping ability — he does jump fairly well off one foot with a running start — but brings consistent effort and production to the court.

He excels making little plays and makes some more noticeable ones as well. He's a smooth three-point shooter who needs a little time to get his shot, but his release is fluid and the results frequently accurate. At Florida, he could play the role of strong, bullying wing or a stretch four, depending on the team's needs.

On defense, Stone possesses a very strong base and should develop into a feisty competitor on the end of the court. He doesn't have great lateral quickness but certainly has the lower body strength to thwart dribble penetration, and as he continues to fill out he'll be able to guard many power forwards effectively as well.

After a series of relatively average defensive teams, Florida boasted a top five squad on defense each of the past two seasons. Stone should be able to help carry that momentum forward as well as contribute to the club's always-potent offense.

The Gators obviously sign numerous highly touted players and thus Stone's absence from the rankings is less typical for them, but his value to the program will escalate with each passing season.

I don't project him as an immediate impact player — and it's entirely possible that he never becomes a primary scoring option — but particularly as an upperclassman he should give the squad skill, experience, unselfishness and toughness.


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