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Franz Beard's Thoughts of the Day; Basketball Edition

A few thoughts to jump start your Thursday morning...

After coming within one game of making the Final Four in only his second season as Florida’s head coach, Mike White has re-shaped his roster for the 2017-18 season with an outstanding recruiting class and the addition of one of the best graduate transfers in the nation.

Gone are Kasey Hill, Canyon Barry and Devin Robinson from Florida’s 27-9 team that lost to South Carolina in the East Regional championship game in New York City. Under most circumstances losing three of the four top scorers would signal time for rebuilding, but White has filled in some of the offensive blanks by bringing in Rice grad transfer Egor Koulechov, who not only averaged 18.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game but shot an eye-opening 47% on 3-pointers while playing in Conference USA. Koulechov’s numbers would have led the Gators in all three categories last year. Additionally, Virginia Tech transfer Jalen Hudson will be eligible after sitting out last season. He’s a slasher who should have no problems averaging in double figures.

Although he has three weeks to make a decision about the NBA, all signs point to the return of John Egbunu, although he probably won’t be ready to go until December or early January. Until he’s ready to go Kevarrius Hayes will fill in at center. He likely will move to the high post when Egbunu comes back. If Gorjok Gak improves as much in the offseason as he did from January to March, then it will be very difficult to keep him off the floor. Keith Stone could play the part of a stretch four as could redshirt freshman Dontay Bassett.

KeVaughn Allen has proven he can score the past two seasons. He will be Florida's #1 option on the wing and will have a chance to improve his NBA stock if he can show he's capable of handling minutes at the point easily. 

The point will belong to Chris Chiozza, who consistently outperformed Hill in the second half of the season and especially in March when the Gators won their first three NCAA games.

Of the four freshmen, Michael Okauru, DeAundre Ballard and Chase Johnson should all get some early minutes. Isaiah Stokes, younger brother of former Tennessee star Jarnell Stokes, is recovering from ACL surgery and is likely to take a redshirt.

Here is the Florida roster as of May 2:

Graduate Transfers (1): Egor Koulechov (6-5, 210)

Redshirt Seniors (1): John Egbunu (6-11, 255)

Seniors (1): Chris Chiozza (6-0, 160)

Redshirt Juniors (1): Jalen Hudson (6-6, 200)

Juniors (2): KeVaughn Allen (6-2, 190); Kevarrius Hayes (6-9, 220)

Redshirt Sophomores (1): Keith Stone (6-8, 240)

Sophomores (1): Gorjok Gak (6-11, 231)

Redshirt Freshmen (1): Dontay Bassett (6-9, 222)

Freshmen (4): Michael Okauru (6-4, 185), DeAundre Ballard (6-6, 200), Chase Johnson (6-9, 210), Isaiah Stokes (6-9, 275)

RECRUITING UPDATE: Mike White has some recruiting momentum now. The combination of a strong finish in 2017 and a solid recruiting class that some services have ranked in the top ten has made Florida attractive once again. Right now, Florida has 32 offers out for the class of 2018 that are confirmed by more than one source.

2018 Offers:

Point Guards (9): Darius Garland (6-0, 168, Nashville, TN Brentwood Academy), Jamie Lewis (6-3, 189, Atlanta, GA Westlake), Lutuentz Dort (6-5, 220, Montreal Canada/Miami, FL Calusa Prep), Alex Lomax (6-0, 189, Memphis, TN East), Devon Dotson (6-2, 175, Chicago, IL Providence Day School), Jalen Carey (6-2, 170, New York, NY Immaculate Conception), Cormac Ryan (6-5, 170, New York, NY/Milton, MA Milton Academy), Elijah Weaver (6-5, 190, Oldsmar, FL Oldsmar Christian), Drue Dinnon (6-2, 180, Smyrna, GA East Jackson Comprehensive)

Shooting Guards (9): Keldon Johnson (6-6, 205, South Hill, VA/Huntington, WV Huntington Prep), Quentin Grimes (6-4, 195, Houston,TX College Park), Ignas Brazdeikis (6-7, 220, Oakville, Ontario/Orangeville, Ontario Athlete Institute), Landers Nolley II (6-5, 190, Atlanta, GA Langston Hughes), David Duke (6-3, 170, Providence, RI/Ashburnham, MA Cushing Academy), Kiyon Boyd (6-5, 210, Washington, DC H.D. Woodson), Michael Devoe (6-3, 183, Orlando, FL Oak Ridge), Will Richardson (6-4, 175, Hinesville, GA Liberty County), Noah Locke (6-2, 197, Owings Mill, MD McDonogh)

Small Forwards (9): Khavon Moore (6-8, 185, Macon, GA Westside), Zion Williamson (6-7, 230, Spartanburg, SC Spartanburg Day), Ryan Boyce (6-5, 170, Memphis, TN Houston), Nassir Little (6-6, 210, Orange Park, FL/Orlando, FL Orlando Christian Prep), Jerome Hunter (6-7, 195, Pickering, OH North), Jairus Hamilton (6-8, 220, Charlotte, NC Cannon), Sidney Wilson Jr. (6-7, 175, Bronx, NY/Wolfeboro, NH Brewster Academy), Maurice Calloo (6-8, 200, Windsor, Canada/Huntington, WV Huntington Prep), Aaron Wiggins (6-6, 180, Greensboro, NC Wesleyan Christian)

Power Forwards (4): Silvio De Sousa (6-9, 240, Luanda, Angola/Bradenton, FL IMG Academy), Emmitt Williams (6-8, 210, Lehigh Acres, FL/Bradenton, FL IMG Academy), Jalen Smith (6-9, 200, Baltimore, MD Mount St. Joseph), Pete Nance (6-8, 210, Richfield, OH Revere)

Centers (1): Moses Brown (7-1, 210, Brooklyn, NY Archbishop Molloy)

SEC ROSTERS AS OF MAY 2

ALABAMA (19-15, lost to Richmond first round NIT)

Seniors (1): Riley Norris (6-7, 205)

Juniors (2): Donta Hall (6-9, 223), Avery Johnson Jr. (5-11, 186)

Redshirt Sophomores (2): Dazon Ingram (6-5, 205), Daniel Giddens (6-11, 236)

Sophomore (1): * Braxton Key (6-8, 225)

* Declared for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent

Incoming Freshmen (5): Collin Sexton (6-3, 175), John Petty (6-5, 185), Alex Reese (6-9, 220), Herb Jones (6-5, 180), Galin Smith (6-10, 220)

Still recruiting: If Braxton Key stays in the NBA Draft, Avery Johnson will have three open scholarships. Alabama is shopping for a graduate transfer, but keeping a low profile.   

ARKANSAS (26-10, lost to North Carolina in NCAA South second round)

Seniors (5): * Jaylen Barford (6-3, 202), Trey Thompson (6-9, 265), * Daryl Macon (6-3, 185), Arlando Cook (6-8, 215), Anton Beard (6-0, 198)

* Declared for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent

Sophomores (3): Adrio Bailey (6-6, 204), Brachen Hazen (6-8, 195), C.J. Jones (6-5, 166)

Redshirt Freshmen (1): Jalen Harris (6-2, 156)

Incoming Freshmen (3): Dan Gafford (6-10, 220), Khalil Garland (6-6, 190), Darious Hall (6-6, 210)

Still recruiting: If Jaylen Barford stays in the draft the Hogs will have an open scholarship that they would like to give to a point guard. Arkansas is still recruiting international import Sylvain Francisco (6-1, 170, Paris, France/Orlando, FL West Oaks Academy), who is being heavily recruited by Texas. Daryl Macon has also declared for the draft but he’s a shooter, not a point so Mike Anderson has adequate backup if he doesn’t return.

AUBURN (18-14)

Redshirt Juniors (1): Desean Murray (6-4, 230)

Juniors (3): Horace Spencer (6-8, 220), Bryce Brown (6-3, 195); Malik Dunbar (6-6, 220, JR)

Sophomores (5): Jared Harper (5-10, 165), Danjel Purifoy (6-7, 230), Mustapha Heron (6-5, 215), Anfernee McLemore (6-7, 210), Austin Wiley (6-11, 255)

Incoming Freshmen (2): Davion Mitchell (6-2, 195), Chuma Okeke (6-8, 210)

Still recruiting: The Tigers are still trying to recruit another point guard and another shooter. The shooter they like is M.J. Walker (6-5, 207, Jonesboro, GA), who has offers from Kansas, Maryland and FSU.

GEORGIA (19-15, lost to Belmont first round NCAA)

Redshirt Seniors (1): Juwan Parker (6-4, 205)

Seniors (2): Pape Diatta (6-7, 220), * Yante Maten (6-8, 240)

* Declared for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent
Juniors (4): Will Jackson II (6-4, 185), E’Torrion Wilridge (6-6, 220), Derek Ogbeide (6-8, 245), Michael Edwards (6-9, 220)

Sophomores (2): Tyree Crump (6-1, 180), Jordan Harris (6-4, 185)

Incoming Freshmen (4): Rayshaun Hammonds (6-8, 215), Nicolas Claxton (6-10, 285), Teshaun Hightower (6-5, 170), Isaac Kante (6-8, 220, Brooklyn, NY Putnam Science)

Still recruiting: If Yante Maten decides to return to school, then Mark Fox is at the limit with the signing of Issac Kante 6-8, 220, Brooklyn, NY Putnam Science). If Maten stays in the draft, then Georgia has a scholarship to give. The Bulldogs are still recruiting 2017 point guard Jalen Lecque (6-2, 155, Bronx, NY Christ  School) and shooting guard Terrell Turner (6-4, 185, Miami, FL Mater Academy Charter) who also has offers from Rutgers and Memphis.

KENTUCKY (32-6, lost to North Carolina in NCAA South Elite Eight)
Sophomores (2):
Sacha Killeya-Jones (6-10, 230), Wenyen Gabriel (6-9, 213)

Redshirt Freshmen (2): Tai Wynyard (6-10, 254), * Hamidou Diallo (6-5, 190)

* Declared for the NBA Draft but will not hire an agent

Incoming Freshmen (6): Quade Green (6-1, 170), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (6-5, 185), P.J. Washington (6-8, 232), Nick Richards (6-11, 250), Jarred Vanderbilt (6-8, 205), Jemari Baker (6-4, 180)

Still recruiting: The Wildcats won’t have a single upperclassman on the roster but that could change if they land Pitt grad transfer Cameron Johnson (6-8, 210), who has two years of eligibility remaining. The lack of shooters in this recruiting class has made Johnson a priority. Hamidou Diallo (6-5, 210) who early enrolled in January and then redshirted, has declared for the NBA Draft. Right now it appears that he will go in the first round so it’s likely he will stay in the draft. The Wildcats are head to head with Duke for Mohamed Bamba (7-0, 216, Harlem, NY Westtown School) and in the running for Kevin Knox (6-9, 210, Tampa, FL Catholic), who seems to be leaning toward Missouri or North Carolina.

LSU (8-24)

Graduate transfer (1): Jeremy Combs (6-7, 214)

Seniors (5): Jalyn Patterson (6-1, 185), Branden Jenkins (6-4, 180), Duop Reath (6-10, 230), Elbert Robinson III (7-1, 290), Aaron Epps (6-10, 220)

Redshirt Juniors (1): Daryl Edwards (6-4, 170) 

Juniors (1): Brandon Sampson (6-5, 193)    
Sophomores (3): Skylar Mays (6-4, 205), Kieran Hayward (6-4, 195), Wayde Sims (6-6, 222)

Incoming Freshmen (3): Galen Alexander (6-7, 220), Brandon Rachal (6-6, 220); Mayan Kiir (6-10, 220)

Still recruiting: With the signing of graduate transfer Jeremy Combs from North Texas, new coach Will Wade is one over the scholarship limit. Last season, Combs averaged 10.2 points and 6.4 rebounds at UNT.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (16-16)

Redshirt Junior (1): Xavian Stapleton (6-6, 195)

Juniors (2): Quinndary Weatherspoon (6-4, 205), Aric Holman (6-10, 222)
Sophomores (7): Lamar Peters (6-0, 188), Tyson Carter (6-4, 167), Eli Wright (6-4, 203), Mario Kegler (6-7, 220), Miles Washington (6-7, 202), Schnider Herard (6-10, 250), E.J. Datcher (6-9, 240)

Redshirt Freshmen (1): Abdul Ado (6-11, 246)

Incoming Freshmen (2): Nick Weatherspoon (6-2, 175), KeyShawn Feazell (6-8, 185)

Still recruiting: The Bulldogs took a hit when Garrison Brooks (6-9, 220) asked for and got a release from his LOI. He has since signed with North Carolina.  Ben Howland is right at the scholarship limit but has still an offer out to Obadiah Toppin (6-9, 200, Baltimore, MD/Durham NC Mount Zion Prep).

MISSOURI (8-24)

Seniors (1): Jordan Barnett (6-7, 215)
Juniors (4): Terrence Phillips (5-11, 180), Kevin Puryear (6-7, 243), Cullen Vanleer (6-4, 208), Jordan Geist (6-2, 180)
Sophomores (2): Mitchell Smith (6-10, 210), Reed Nikko (6-10, 250)

Redshirt Freshmen (1): Jakoby Kemp (6-9, 215)

Incoming Freshmen (3): C.J. Roberts (6-2, 186), Michael Porter Jr. (6-10, 215), Blake Harris (6-3, 190, Chapel Hill NC/Raleigh, NC Word of God)

Still recruiting: Cuonzo Martin probably will fill his two open scholarships sometime this week. One is likely to be Illinois de-commit Jeremiah Tilmon (6-10, 225, East St. Louis, IL) and the other is Jontay Porter (6-10, 240, Columbia, MO). Tilmon is still being recruited by Illinois, Kansas and Indiana but he’s thought to be a lock to Mizzou. Porter is thinking to reclassify so he can play with older brother Larry Porter Jr., who is expected to be a one-and-done. Missouri recruited Kevin Knox (6-9, 220, Tampa, FL Catholic) hard but he’s probably going to decide between Kansas, Duke, North Carolina and FSU sometime between today and Saturday. 

OLE MISS (22-14, lost to Georgia Tech in NIT quarter-finals)

Graduate transfer (1): Markel Crawford (6-5, 208)

Seniors (2): Marcanvis Hymon (6-7, 220), Justas Furmanavicius (6-7, 210), 

Redshirt Seniors (1): Deandre Burnett (6-2, 192)

Juniors (2): Terrence Davis (6-4, 201), Bruce Stevens (6-8, 260 JUCO)

Redshirt Sophomores (1): Dominik Olejniczak (7-0, 255)
Sophomores (2): Karlis Silins (6-11, 245), Breein Tyree (6-2, 192)
Incoming Freshmen (3): Devontae Shuler (6-3, 185), Parker Stewart (6-5, 185), JaMarko Pickett (6-7, 160)

Still recruiting: With Cullen Neal transferring out as a graduate Andy Kennedy has an open scholarship. He already landed Markel Crawford (6-5, 208) from Memphis as a graduate transfer and he’s shopping for another.

SOUTH CAROLINA (26-10, lost to Gonzaga in NCAA semifinal)

Redshirt seniors (1): Kory Holden (6-1, 181)

Seniors (1): Ran Tut (6-9, 210)

Redshirt Juniors (2): TeMarcus Blanton (6-5, 206), Hassani Gravett (6-1, 183)
Juniors (1): Chris Silva (6-9, 223)
Sophomores (4): Rakym Felder (5-10, 210), Khadim Gueye (7-0, 235), Sedee Keita (6-9, 240), Maik Kotsar (6-10, 245)

Incoming Freshmen (4): David Beatty (6-4, 200), Ibrahim Doumbia (6-8, 220), Felipe Haase (6-8, 250), Jason Cudd (7-0, 250)

Still recruiting: The Gamecocks are at the scholarship limit, but Frank Martin is still recruiting Wright State transfer Mark Alstork (6-5, 190), who averaged 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. He’s a graduate who would be eligible immediately and would help soften the blow of losing leading scorer Sindarius Thornwell.

TENNESSEE (16-16)

Juniors (3): Shembari Phillips (6-3, 192), Admiral Schofield (6-4, 238), Kyle Alexander (6-10, 218)
Redshirt Sophomores (1): Lamonte Turner (6-0, 187)
Sophomores (5): Jordan Bone (6-1, 173), Jordan Bowden (6-3, 180), John Fulkerson (6-7, 203), Jalen Johnson (6-5, 177), Grant Williams (6-5, 234)
Incoming Freshmen (3): Derrick Walker (6-8, 220), Zach Kent (6-9, 205), Yves Pons (6-6, 210)

Still recruiting: Rick Barnes is targeting juco point guard Chris Darrington (6-1, 175, Vincennes, IN) for his one open scholarship. Memphis, Western Kentucky and Colorado have also offered.

TEXAS A&M (16-15)

Graduate Seniors (1): Duane Wilson (6-2, 185)

Redshirt Seniors (1): Tony Trocha-Morelos (6-10, 224)

Juniors (3): Tyler Davis (6-10, 270), Admon Gilder (6-4, 198), DJ Hogg (6-9, 220)
Redshirt Sophomores (1): Josh Nebo (6-8, 215)

Sophomores (2): Robert Williams (6-9, 237), Eric Vila (6-11, 206),

Redshirt Freshman (1): JJ Caldwell (6-1, 184)

Incoming Freshmen (4): Savion Flagg (6-7, 200), Isaiah Jasey (6-9, 220), Jay Jay Chandler (6-3, 185), T.J. Starks (6-2, 185)

Still recruiting: With the addition of St. Francis (PA) transfer Josh Nebo (12 points, 8.3 rebounds), Billy Kennedy is at the scholarship limit and has no current 2017 offers out there.

VANDERBILT (19-16, lost to Northwestern in NCAA West first round)

Seniors (3): Riley LaChance (6-2, 192), Jeff Roberson (6-6, 224), Matthew Fisher-Davis (6-5, 185)

Redshirt Juniors (1): Larry Austin Jr. (6-2, 175)
Juniors (1): Joe Toye (6-7, 208)
Redshirt Sophomores (2): Djery Baptiste (6-10, 240), Matt Ryan (6-7, 220)
Sophomores (2): Clevon Brown (6-8, 219), Payton Willis (6-4, 182)

Incoming Freshmen (3): Ejike Obinna (6-9, 230), Saban Lee (6-2, 175), Maxwell Evans (6-1, 170)

Still recruiting: The pickings are getting slim for Bryce Drew, who is trying to land another big man to his freshman recruiting class. Drew has lost out on Montverde Academy’s Sandro Mamukelashvili (6-10, 230), who has signed with Seton Hall and Evan Cole (6-10, 230, Cumming, GA South Forsyth), who signed with Georgia Tech. 

QUESTION OF THE DAY

Mike White is one of the hot young names in college basketball and his dad is the AD at Duke. He has three years remaining on his UF contract. Should Florida tear up the old deal and sign him to a lucrative long term deal that will keep him in Gainesville for years to come?

MUSIC FOR TODAY

The late Johnny Winter was one of the truly great blues guitarists of all time. Born an albino, Winter’s pale skin and white hair made him as distinguishable as his style with a guitar. Named by Rolling Stone magazine of the “100 Greatest Guitarists” of all time, Winter put out 19 studio albums and 8 live in his career. He also produced three Grammy Award winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters. Today’s music is Winter’s “Live/And 1971” album which was recorded at Fillmore East in New York and Pirate’s World in Dania.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9eyO52QqvA


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