Preseason college basketball magazines are out, and many are high on the Gators.
Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook and Lindy’s have both picked Florida to win the SEC East. The Sporting News picked Florida second in the east, behind Kentucky.
Last year, most preseason magazines picked Florida to finish either fourth or fifth in the east. All five starters are back from a team that finished 21-13 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.
“This is the first time since 2007 that they haven’t lost anyone to the NBA,” said Blue Ribbon Yearbook editor Chris Dortch. “I really thought that was the reason why they struggled so much the last couple of years.”
Dortch conceded that backcourt depth remains an issue behind starters Erving Walker and Kenny Boynton. But he likes the addition of McDonald’s All-American power forward Patric Young to an already deep frontcourt.
“They’ll probably be a more physical team then what they’ve been in recent years,” Dortch said.
Dortch said he contemplated picking Kentucky to win the SEC East, but backed off due to the uncertain status of Kentucky big man Enes Kanter. Kanter’s eligibility remains in limbo with the NCAA because his amateur status may have been compromised in his native Turkey.
“John Calipari said he’s not concerned with Kanter’s status, but it’s the NCAA, and you never know what they are going to do,” Dortch said. “Even if he’s declared eligible, they may make him sit 16 games or 18 games. (Former Gator and current Kentucky forward) Eloy Vargas had a good year in Junior College, but you don’t know what he’s going to be able to do at this level.”