Coaching transition isn’t easy. Especially when it comes to recruiting.
Florida coach Mike White had discussed his need this past season to prove to recruits that the program was healthy following Billy Donovan’s departure.
As a result, White’s first full recruiting class in 2016 wasn’t thought of highly by those who follow recruiting for a living. Even with the recent addition of 6-11 center Gorjok Gak, UF’s first class was ranked 58th in the nation by 24.7.com on Thursday. Florida also failed to make ESPN.com’s list of Top 40 recruiting classes in the country.
According to 24.7.com, Florida’s recruiting class is ranked behind 10 different SEC teams — Kentucky (1), Mississippi State (7), Auburn (25), Arkansas (27), Georgia (34), Texas A&M (37), Tennessee (46), Alabama (51), Ole Miss (53) and LSU (55). From a recruiting standpoint, it’s concerning that a Florida program with the tradition of two national titles and five Final Fours in the last 22 years is behind less successful SEC programs. UF’s 2016 class includes Gak (a three/four-star recruit), 6-4 guard Eric Hester (a three/four-star recruit) and 6-8 forward Dontay Bassett (a three-star recruit).
Of course, recruiting rankings don’t mean everything. Players can (and often) outperform the number of stars on their profiles, while some five-star players are overhyped. Consider national champion Villanova’s 2012 class — which included key starters Daniel Ochefu (center) and Ryan Arcidiacono (point guard) — was ranked 38th in the country. Florida’s 2012 class — which included eventual transfers DeVon Walker, Dillon Graham and Braxton Ogbueze — was ranked 25th. Get the picture?
There are chances for roster upgrades through transfers as well. Florida remains in the mix to add 6-6 swigmnan Canyon Barry, who visited UF’s campus earlier this month. Barry, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Barry, visited Northwestern on Thursday and is visiting Miami on May 2.
And for those Florida fans looking for good news, UF’s 2017 class is currently ranked third in the nation by 24.7.com, based on the commitments of four-star guards Shai Alexander and DeAundre Ballard.