Report: USF big man Egbunu transferring to Florida
Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 11:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 11:28 a.m.
Former South Florida center John Egbunu is transferring to Florida, his high school coach confirmed Thursday.
“It’s the University of Florida. It’s coach (Billy) Donovan, who has a track record of developing big men and getting them ready for the NBA,” Fort Walton Beach coach John Lavin said of Egbunu’s decision. “Playing in the SEC, playing for Billy Donovan, it’s a win for John.
“He’s only played basketball for about three years, and he has a skill set that is growing every day. He’ll get top-notch coaching that’s going to up his draft status. He’s in a good spot. It’s great for him and great for the University of Florida.”
UF will not announce the signing of Egbunu until all the paperwork is finalized, probably early next week.
The 6-10, 245-pound Egbunu started 31 games at South Florida this past season as a true freshman and averaged 7.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 24.8 minutes a game. He also set a USF record for rebounds by a freshman with 198 and led the Bulls with 1.3 blocked shots a game.
Egbunu decided to transfer after USF coach Stan Heath was fired after the season.
When Egbunu officially signs with UF, the Gators will be one over the scholarship limit of 13.
Egbunu will have to sit out next season, per NCAA transfer rules, and will be eligible for the 2015-16 season. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Before making his decision to come to UF, Egbunu, who is from Bauchi, Nigeria, also considered Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Georgetown and Arizona.
Lavin said having a chance to stay close to his family members in this country played a role in his decision to transfer to UF.
“He has an aunt and uncle who live in Atlanta, and I think that was a big factor,” Lavin said. “He wanted them to be able to see him play.
“I’m happy for him and I’m happy for Florida. He’s a happy-go-lucky kid and he’s got a great attitude. He’ll be a great fit.”