Florida opens its season Friday at home against UNF in a matinee tipoff (3 p.m.).
That doesn’t mean the Ospreys aren’t ready for prime time. Blue Ribbon Yearbook picks UNF to finish sixth in the nine-team Atlantic Sun Conference this season. Remember, this is the conference that produced last season’s Florida Gulf Coast University’s “dunk city” phenomenon. Belmont, another former A-Sun team capable of NCAA Tournaments upsets, left for the Ohio Valley Conference this season.
UNF returns two starters from a team that finished 13-19 last season. But fifth-year coach Matthew Driscoll is optimistic about this season. The reason? North Florida returns A-Sun all-conference first team candidate Travis Wallace, a 6-foot-6 forward who averaged 14.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game last season. Also, UNF is adding a potential impact trasfer in 5-11 guard Devin Wilson (Pensacola State College). Wilson, a former Gainesville-P.K. Yonge standout, should be motivated in his return to his hometown.
Here’s Blue Ribbon’s assessment of UNF this season: “The Atlantic Sun is gaining a reputation as a conference capable of some surprises, and one of the surprises this season could be the Ospreys. They have a pair of returning starters in Wallace and (forward Beau) Beech who could find themselves on one of the A-Sun’s All-Conference teams, a pair of junior college transfers who should be able to make immediate impacts in positions of need, and depth in the frontcourt.”