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Scottie Lewis to enter NBA draft, hires agent

Graham Hall
UF basketball writer
Florida's Scottie Lewis decides to leave program Thursday.

Florida sophomore guard Scottie Lewis will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent, effectively ending his time in Gainesville, the former five-star prospect announced Thursday on his Instagram. 

“Nothing but LOVE, peace out Gainesville,” Lewis captioned his farewell post. 

The 6-foot-5 guard initially signed with UF as a top-10 prospect and averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game in his second season across nine starts, although those numbers were down from his freshman campaign when Lewis scored 8.5 points in 22 starts. He was a top defender, with 69 steals and 58 blocks.

More:Whitley: It's Mike White's turn to welcome talent to Gators through transfer portal

“I know that I will be moving on to a new place and if god is willing to a new team but please know that Gainesville and the Stephen O'Connell arena will always have a special place in my heart!” he wrote.

“From the moment my father placed a ball in my hands, I knew I wanted to strive for nothing but greatness. Playing in the NBA has always been my main priority in life.

"And with that being said, I am happy to announce that I have made the decision to take the next step in my career by signing with (an) agent and declaring for the NBA draft!"

Lewis, 21, is not currently ranked in any NBA draft projections, though the immediate takeaway is he’s the latest Gator to depart the program, joining starters Tre Mann and Colin Castleton in testing the NBA draft waters, while Noah Locke, Ques Glover, Omar Payne and Osayi Osifo have all entered their names in the NCAA’s transfer portal. 

Speaking earlier Thursday with Steve Russell on WRUF’s Sportscene, Florida athletics director Scott Stricklin put to rest any notion the administration was dissatisfied with UF men’s basketball coach Mike White in the wake of the departures. 

"I think the world of Mike. I'm really excited about his future here,” Stricklin said. “I think he's going to be the head coach of the Florida Gators for a long, long time.”

Stricklin also shared his thoughts on the proliferation of the transfer portal, saying it’s becoming the new norm in college basketball as the NCAA eases transfer restrictions and moves toward a one-time transfer for all student-athletes.

After all, transfers will be on full display at the Final Four this weekend, including former UF and current Gonzaga point guard Andrew Nembhard.

"He's dealing with something that seemingly everybody in college basketball is dealing with these days, which is the transfer situation. It's changing the way I think coaches are going to be putting their roster together. You've already seen it,” Stricklin said. “And you've got to give credit to schools like Gonzaga and Baylor. I think they might have been on the cutting edge. Four of Baylor's six leading scorers are transfers, and Gonzaga has kind of been in that area for quite a while and kind of built their program based on that. I think that's going to be happening at more and more places, because the numbers are remarkable.”