While the main attraction in Gainesville on Saturday is, without question, the football game between Florida and No. 7 Utah at 7 p.m. ET at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gator fans also have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of another sport just across the street well before the action on the gridiron starts as Florida’s basketball team is currently working out in the O’Connell Center and the session is open to the public free of charge. The workout is expected to run until roughly 3:30.
Gator fans have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the team’s new-look roster after first-year head coach Todd Golden, who spent the last four years in the same role at San Francisco, added seven new players, including four transfers, to the program since his hiring in March.
Golden and his staff put on a masterful display of recruiting and roster management in their first few months, working quickly to keep possession of the services of senior center Colin Castleton, who was one of eight players selected to the SEC’s all-conference second-team, as well as guards Kowacie Reeves and Niels Lane and forwards CJ Felder and Jason Jitoboh.
Golden also added four Divison I transfers: guards Will Richard, Trey Bonham, and Kyle Lofton, and forward Alex Fudge. The former San Francisco head coach said he views his first transfer class at Florida as his most prominent marker of early success. He also said he believes it’s a sign of what could be to come for the future of the program in terms of its ability to acquire Division I talent looking to change schools.
“To be honest, I think you can see that with the transfers we were able to add. I think bringing in Well Richard, who really could have gone probably to 15 to 20 different high-major places. Alex Fudge could have gone to a lot of different places. Kyle Loften, you know, he turned down going to visit Texas and Arizona to come here. I think it kind of speaks for itself. This is a pretty elite place and if we can do a good job building the program and being able to articulate to these guys what the opportunity is, we’re going to end up getting some pretty good players here.”
Despite being just months into their Florida tenure, Golden and his staff have also already made strides towards their goal of improving in-state recruiting at the university relative to the last several years. Ranked No. 11 in the state of Florida on the independent 247Sports rankings, Florida freshman guard Riley Kugel became the first top-15 prospect from the state to commit to the Gators since Tre Mann (No. 3) and Omar Payne (No. 9) in 2019, which also marked the last time the Gators secured a commitment from an in-state high schooler other than 2022 prospect Denzel Aberdeen, a three-star guard.
Golden and company also added German big man Aleks Szymczyk.