Michael Frazier and Chris Walker both announced they would leave early and enter the NBA Draft. Eli Carter announced on Monday that he would transfer from Florida and play his final year of eligibility elsewhere. The trio combined for 25.6 points last season.
There was good news, as forward Dorian Finney-Smith elected to come back for his final season. He led the Gators with 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds last season.
The only question left is about Billy Donovan, who is reportedly a top candidate for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s vacant head coaching position. While the answer isn’t clear yet, the rest of the Florida roster is in good shape heading into the 2015-16 season.
Florida returns both point guards -- Chris Chiozza and Kasey Hill -- from last season. Hill began the year as the starter and held that role for a majority of the season, but his inconsistent play allowed Chiozza to get increased minutes down the stretch. It’ll be interesting to see how this position is handled next season.
Frazier returning would’ve ben a big boost to the shooting guard position. Without him, two inexperienced players look like the most likely bets to get a large number of minutes. Francis missed last season because of academics, and freshman Kevaughn Allen will also see time. Chiozza will also likely get minutes at shooting guard.
The biggest thing Florida needs without Frazier is three-point shooting. Chiozza and Hill combined to shoot 30.9 percent from behind the three-point line last season. With Frazier leaving as one of the best three-point shooters in school history, the Gators will have to find a way to replace it.
Finney-Smith brings versatility and proven scoring to the 2015-16 roster. If Florida lost him and Frazier during the same season, it would’ve been tough to replace all of the points. The somewhat surprising return for his senior year puts Finney-Smith into an important leadership role for the Gators.
The player likely to make the biggest offseason jump is Devin Robinson. The flashes were easy to see last season. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team and scored a career-high 15 points against Texas Southern, but his high in SEC games came with 14 points against Ole Miss and Missouri, both in the final four regular season games. His shot needs to get more consistent, but he can aggressively attack the rim and is a great athlete.
Alex Murphy won’t steal any headlines, but he’s any important depth piece going into next season. He can handle either forward spot.
The perimeter defense will get a big boost from the return of DeVon Walker, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL. His athleticism and ability to handle forwards or guards defensively was a missing link for last year’s team.
Early during last season’s practices, word started to circulate about how much of an impact John Egbunu would make for Florida. For a team that drastically could’ve used his toughness and rebounding at the rim, the USF transfer would’ve been an important piece for last year.
With John Horford and Chris Walker gone, there’s no choice for Florida other than throwing Egbunu into the starting lineup. The 6-11, 266-pound center will give the Gators a shot blocker at the rim that can impact the game in different ways. He is the true center Florida didn’t have last year.
Freshman Kevarrius Hayes has the length to be a shot blocker and rebound. He needs to add weight, but he should be able to play as a freshman.