Gators PF/C Dontay Bassett enters transfer portal

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Florida forward Dontay Bassett (21) gets a defensive rebound next to Marshall forward Iran Bennett (2) during the second half Friday at the O'Connell Center. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Following the abrupt and premature conclusion of numerous NCAA Division I winter and spring athletics due to the coronavirus pandemic, countless athletes are weighing their athletic futures across the country in an ever-changing situation– including right here in Gainesville.

After the UF men’s basketball team finished the regular season with a 19-12 mark, 6-foot-9 redshirt junior forward Dontay Bassett has decided to enter the NCAA transfer portal, school officials said Monday. 

The Oakland, California, native appeared poised for a considerable role this season after emerging as the back-up to starting center Kevarrius Hayes during the 2018-19 campaign, but Bassett’s fourth season in Gainesville didn’t start off promising.

A lower leg injury in preseason kept him out of much of UF’s early preparation, and subsequently allowed freshmen Omar Payne and Jason Jitoboh to usurp Bassett in the pecking order.

Although he would recover in time for Florida’s first week of games, things wouldn’t get much better as the 6-foot-9 forward suffered through flu-like symptoms in late November before suffering a calf strain in Florida’s 69-47 win against Auburn. He would play just 23 minutes the rest of the season. Bassett averaged 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 6.7 minutes in 17 games played.

Furthermore, Bassett is the fifth frontcourt player to transfer from the program within the past 16 months. 

Prior to Bassett’s decision, Gorjok Gak opted to enter the portal in December; he later revealed he needed shoulder surgery.

In Dec. 2018, Chase Johnson, the No. 19-ranked power forward by 247Sports in the 2017 class, opted to transfer to Dayton – he would later medically retire, citing the concussions that prevented him from developing consistently at Florida.

Several months later, after suffering another ACL injury, Keith Stone entered the transfer portal, ultimately deciding to enroll at Miami as a graduate transfer. He averaged 4.9 points per game for the ‘Canes this season in 18 appearances.

And after appearing to have figured things out in Gainesville, Isaiah Stokes transferred to his hometown Memphis in August. He was later denied immediate eligibility. 

As it stands, Bassett’s decision leaves the Gators with 10 returning scholarship players next season. Florida signed three prospects – small forward Samson Ruzhentsev, shooting guard Niels Lane and power forward Osayi Osifo – in November during the early signing period.