Basketball recruiting: Florida Gators land commitment from top-50 prospect Riley Kugel

Graham Hall
Gator Sports

The Florida men’s basketball program added a commitment Monday from Dr. Phillips (Orlando) shooting guard Riley Kugel, who pledged to the Gators over scholarship offers from LSU and Georgia. 

Kugel announced his commitment via Instagram, citing the proximity to home, the relationship with UF's coaching staff and the development opportunity at Florida as reasons why he opted to commit to the Gators. 

"It's the whole coaching staff. Coach Todd Golden and Coach McCray, they just show love constantly," Kugel said. "They just want me to get to the NBA and to develop me. And my family doesn't have to travel across the world to see me play."

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Riley Kugel

Korey McCray recruited Riley Kugel at Mississippi State

Kugel initially signed with Mississippi State, but he was released from his letter of intent March 23 following MSU coach Ben Howland’s departure from the program. 

Korey McCray, Kugel’s lead recruiter while at Mississippi State, joined the Florida staff not long after, and the perception was that UF was the team to beat for Kugel’s re-opened commitment. 

When factoring in the proximity from Gainesville to Orlando, in addition to Kugel’s familiarity with UF signee Denzel Aberdeen, his teammate in the backcourt at Dr. Phillips, Kugel quickly emerged as a primary target for Golden, with McCray once again taking the lead on his recruitment. 

But the Gators had to contend with a variety of Power-Six programs, including the Tigers and the Bulldogs, the latter now led by former UF head coach Mike White, who not too long ago had recruited Kugel to Florida. 

Riley Kugel as he announced on Instagram that he chose the Gators.

At 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, Kugel is ranked the No. 48 overall prospect and the No. 4 shooting guard prospect in the class of 2022 by 247Sports. With the addition of Kugel, the Gators have 12 scholarship players either enrolled, signed or committed to the program, leaving UF with one scholarship remaining for the 2022-23 season.