It’s never too early to discuss recruiting. Especially when it comes to Florida basketball.
Florida coach Mike White and his staff brought in a breakthrough class in 2018, which included his first five-star signee at UF, Andrew Nembhard, plus four-star shooting guard Noah Locke and four-star wing Keyontae Johnson.
What can White and his staff do for an encore? With the summer evaluation period approaching, here’s a look at some players UF is targeting for 2019:
— Omar Payne, power forward, Kissimmee (Osceola) — A four-star recruit, the 6-foot-9, 195-pound Payne will need to bulk up to bang in the SEC. Florida State, Louisville and Clemson also are in hot pursuit of the skilled, athletic big man who rebounds and finishes well in transition.
— Tre Mann, point guard, The Villages — The 6-foot-4 Mann made an unofficial visit to Florida in May and already has UF in his final three with Tennessee and Kansas. A four-star prospect, Mann grew up in Gainesville as a Gator fan. Mann is a playmaker, but shoots well enough to play off the ball, and could team in the backcourt with Andrew Nembhard if/when Nembhard returns to UF for his sophomore season.
— C.J. Walker, power forward, Orlando (Orlando Christian Prep) — A three-star prospect, the 6-foot-8, 200-pound Walker also had offers from Georgia, LSU, Arkansas, Tennessee and Alabama. Walker, an athletic combo forward who is working hard to improve his skill set, told Rivals.com he’s talking to Florida “once or twice a day” and said that UF’s up-tempo offense fits his style of play.
— Bryan Antoine, guard, Eatontown, N.J. (Ranney School) — A five-star combo guard, the 6-foot-4 Antoine announced last month that Florida was in his final five with Duke, Kentucky, Villanova and Kansas. A big reason? Antoine grew up in Florida before moving to New Jersey and still has family who lives close enough to Gainesville to watch him play. Antoine has scheduled his official visit to UF on Sept. 15, the weekend of the home football game against Colorado State. Ranked 7th nationally by 24.7.com, Antoine would surpass Nembhard as the most highly-touted recruit of the White era if the Gators were to land him. Antoine is an excellent shooter who can play on or off the ball and has the size and length to defend multiple positions.
— Scottie Lewis, forward, Eatontown, N.J. (Ranney School) — A 6-foot-5, 177-pound five-star prospect, Lewis averaged 16.4 points and 4.1 assists last season while displaying explosive finishing ability and the ability to guard multiple positions. Lewis told 247.com he’s established a good rapport with UF’s coaching staff and likes the family atmosphere of the Gator program. “When Coach (Darris) Nichols and Coach (Mike) White came on the in-home visit it was like I had two uncles there, and not two college coaches,” Lewis told 247. Duke, St. John’s, Villanova and Kentucky also are recruiting Lewis hard as well.