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Blackshear signs with Israeli basketball club

Graham Hall
Gainesville Sun correspondent
Former Florida standout Kerry Blackshear Jr. signs with team in Israel.

Originally Published on: Aug 17, 2020 at 11:45

Florida graduate transfer forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. is signing a professional contract with Hapoel Gilboa Galil, a professional basketball team in Israel. The 6-foot-10 Orlando native announced the decision on his social media account Saturday with the caption “Year 1” alongside the flag of Israel. 

The former Virginia Tech standout arrived in Gainesville last season amid high expectations as the perceived top graduate transfer on the market, and early-season returns seemed to justify those predictions. But the Gators failed to live up to the lofty preseason expectations bestowed on the program, and Blackshear’s shortcomings –– his field-goal percentage was the lowest of his career –– were magnified as a result. 

Despite the adjustments and change of scenery, Blackshear averaged 12.8 points per game and led UF in rebounding with 7.8 while consistently being praised for his toughness and leadership by Gators coach Mike White. 

“KJ is as tough as anyone on our team, definitely one of the tougher guys I’ve coached,” White said March 1 after Blackshear had been diagnosed with a sprained wrist. “He has not missed a practice all year and has battled different things, including illness at times, and won’t take a rep off.”