5 things to know about Florida's transfer CJ Felder
Another dynamic frontcourt defender
Last April, the Gators added junior forward Colin Castleton in the offseason — an addition that was underrated in retrospect, as the DeLand native averaged 12.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in his first season with Florida. In CJ Felder, the Gators have done it again — they’re getting another highly regarded shot-blocker. As a sophomore in 2020-21, Felder averaged 2.2 blocks per game, a statistic made even more impressive when comparing his 6-foot-7 stature to Castleton’s 6-foot-11 frame and wingspan.
Can stretch the floor, too
His defensive statistics may indicate he’s a fixture in the paint, but Felder isn’t simply an around-the-rim presence. He hit 31.8 percent of his 3-point attempts last season while attempting 3.7 per game. His ability to space the floor and play the four spot means UF could theoretically run him and Castleton together at the same time, if the latter withdraws his name from the NBA draft and returns to Florida.
Performance against Gators
The Castleton comparisons don’t stop there, however. Just like they did with a freshman Castleton in the NCAA Tournament prior to his arrival, the Gators got a glimpse at their new teammate in a game this season. In UF’s 90-70 victory over Boston College in the second game of the season, Felder went for 11 points, a block and a steal in 23 minutes of action. Although it’s worth noting his assignment, UF forward Keyontae Johnson, went for 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Eagles’ frontcourt.
SEC offers came in
Florida was far from the only program interested in adding Felder’s services, and the Gators weren’t even the only team in the SEC to reach out to him after he entered his name in the transfer portal — far from it. Felder was in contact with Georgia and LSU from the jump, and soon after he heard from Ole Miss, Arkansas, Texas A&M and the team from his home state, South Carolina. Fortunately for Florida, it wasn't one of the first teams to reach out and had a second Zoom meeting set up with Felder before many teams had a chance to schedule their preliminary interviews. That’s how you land coveted players, regardless of whether they’re transfers or high school recruits.
Eyes on a starting role
Considering it was mentioned earlier that Felder had a chance at starting in Florida’s frontcourt next season, it’s worth noting he would have to beat out Anthony Duruji for the starting role. Duruji is considered a more athletic player who can space defenders out, while Felder is more likely to bang in the post and affect shots around the rim. Knowing how coach Mike White likes to use many rotations, it’s likely they’ll both be on the court together — but right now it looks as if they’ll battle for the starting power forward role next season.