Anthony Duruji to enter NBA Draft, won't return for Florida Gators basketball team

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

Florida forward Anthony Duruji will forgo his final season of collegiate eligibility and enter the NBA Draft, Duruji announced Friday on his Twitter account. 

"First, I would like to express my gratitude and say how grateful I am for my time at Florida. I'm thankful for Coach (Mike) White and the whole coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to further my collegiate career," Duruji wrote. "Huge thank you to Gator Nation & the community of Gainesville. I am blessed to have found my wife and become a Gator graduate. I have gained such great relationships and memories that will last a lifetime."

After transferring from Louisiana Tech and sitting out the 2019-20 season, Duruji became a valuable contributor for the Gators in the wake of Keyontae Johnson’s collapse Dec. 12, 2020, at Florida State. Duruji started 17 of 25 games and average 6.1 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season. 

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This season, while starting primarily alongside Colin Castleton in the low post, Duruji averaged 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game. Late in the 2021-22 campaign, Duruji injured his ankle, which forced him out of the lineup for a pair of games in the regular season and kept him from practicing over the final month of the season. He didn't suit up for either of Florida's postseason NIT games, opting to begin his recovery. 

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"Thank you to my teammates, mentors, and advisors who have encouraged me along the way. Most importantly, all the glory belongs to God. Though it all, I see your hand at every step. My steps are ordered and my hope is infinite," Duruji continued. "With that being said, I will be hiring an agent and forgoing my college eligibility to enter the 2022 NBA Draft."

Duruji was one of seven players honored on Senior Day by the program, though he could have exercised the extra year of eligibility from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to the program. Instead, Duruji is turning his focus to the professional level.