White pleased with Stone’s progress


Keith Stone chose to redshirt his freshman season at Florida in an effort to mature physically and not get stuck on the bench behind a glut of experienced UF forwards.

Florida coach Mike White said Friday he’s been pleased with the progress of the 6-8, 233 pound Stone, a three/four-star prospect out of Deerfield Beach.

“He’s had a really good season,” White said. “I know, it’s easy to say that. We talked about it as a staff that teams are always pleased with the backup quarterback, right? Keith hasn’t lost a game yet, he hasn’t missed a big shot, he hasn’t forgotten a play, he hasn’t missed a big crucial block-out late in the game.

“That said, though, he’s really worked. He’s really shooting the ball well, he’s gained a bunch of muscle, he’s gotten more athletic. (Florida strength coach) Preston Greene has done a great job with him. He’s moving a lot better than when he got here, he’s dropped a lot of body fat, changed his body.”

With the departure of Dorian Finney-Smith and uncertain status of Alex Murphy moving forward, there will be more opportunities for playing time in the frontcourt next season. Practice performance doesn’t always equate to performance on the court in games (redshirt freshman guard Brandone-Francis Ramirez, for example, reportedly shoots lights out in practice), but Stone showed in high school the ability to consistently knock down jumpers out to 15-17 feet.

“He’s a competitor,” White said. “I think he’s benefited from being the star, the leading scorer on the scout team for every prep for each one of these opponents. I think it’s probably helped with his confidence level a little bit. I anticipate him being a really good player here and him having a pretty big impact on next year’s team.”