Blackshear gives Gators first visit

Virginia Tech forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. dunks against Duke during the second half in Blacksburg, Va., in the Feb. 26 game. (AP Photo/Lee Luther Jr.)

It’s no secret Florida coach Mike White is looking to bolster UF’s frontcourt with the addition of a graduate transfer.¬†And Thursday’s visit could go a long way in shoring up the 2019-2020 iteration of the Gators.

Six weeks after entering his name into the NCAA’s transfer portal, Virginia Tech graduate transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. will take his first visit to Florida, sources confirmed to The Sun. Blackshear, in search of a new home after the departure of Buzz Williams, is one of the most coveted graduate transfer remaining on the market, and his initial list of suitors included the likes of Kentucky and Texas A&M.

But White wasted little time in reaching out to the Orlando native, who averaged 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season while leading the Hokies to a 26-9 record. The 6-foot-10 Blackshear poured in 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in his final game with Virginia Tech, a 75-73 loss to No. 1-seed Duke.

Factor in the return of freshmen Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson, in addition to the arrival of a top-5 recruiting class, and the Gators could be one of the SEC’s contenders after narrowly qualifying for the NCAA Tournament last season.

Florida has 12 players under scholarship, leaving UF one short of the NCAA maximum of 13. The Gators added Louisiana Tech transfer Anthony Duruji in April, who is expected to sit out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations.