Gators basketball team adds JUCO forward Gatkek to roster

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Tuongthach Gatkek

With an available scholarship remaining for the 2021-22 season, the Florida men’s basketball program finalized the addition of 6-foot-9 JUCO prospect Tuongthach “Tuon” Gatkek to the team’s roster Friday. 

The sophomore initially announced the news Tuesday on his Twitter account. 

Gatkek, a 6-foot-9, 175-pound forward, played just one season at Trinity Valley Community College (Texas) after he didn’t receive significant Division I interest as a high school prospect at Caprock in Amarillo, Texas.

Although he’s considered to be fundamentally raw, Gatkek helped lead TVCC to a 23-2 record in 2020-21. He averaged 9.7 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per contest, with most of his scoring opportunities coming around the rim. 

Despite the proliferation of the transfer portal, Gatkek’s addition means the Gators again have taken the JUCO route when it comes to padding out the frontcourt, adding a player with length, motor and shot-blocking prowess. Last season’s JUCO addition, Osayi Osifo, transferred to Jacksonville University after playing sparingly with the Gators.  

The other newcomers: Myreon Jones (Penn State); CJ Felder (Boston College); Brandon McKissic (Kansas City); Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (Charleston Southern); and freshmen Elijah Kennedy and Kowacie Reeves.

Forward Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed during a game last December, remains on Florida's roster but has not been cleared to practice.

Pronunciation note: TOON-sike GAT-kek; Goes by Tuon.

Florida opens the season Nov. 9 at home against Elon University.