Florida Preview Capsule
Last season: 27-9, advanced to NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight
Coach: Mike White
Who’s gone: G Kasey Hill, G/F Canyon Barry, F Devin Robinson, F Justin Leon.
Who’s back: PG Chris Chiozza, who hit a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to stun Wisconsin in the Sweet 16. The senior will be the team’s primary ball-handler for the first time in his career. He’s joined in the backcourt by junior G KeVaughn Allen, the team’s leading scorer (14 ppg) last season. F Keith Stone and F/C Kevarrius Hayes are expected to make significant jumps and will be counted on to handle the post until senior C John Egbunu returns from reconstructive knee surgery in January.
Who’s new: Former Virginia Tech G Jalen Hudson and former Arizona State/Rice G Egor Koulechov. The 6-foot-6 Hudson averaged 8.4 points a game as a sophomore with the Hokies. He sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules and looked like Florida’s best scorer at times in practice. The 6-5 Koulechov is a graduate transfer who averaged 18.2 points a game as a junior at Rice last year and shot 47 percent from 3-point range. He made at least 80 3-pointers in each of the last two seasons and is expected to give Florida its best outside threat in several years. Freshman class includes PG Mike Okauru, F Chase Johnson, F Deaundrae Ballard and F/C Isaiah Stokes.
The skinny: The Gators are widely considered a top-10 team and expected to make another deep run in the NCAA Tournament. They should get a decent gauge of where they’re at in the Phil Knight Invitational later this month. The tournament includes Stanford, Ohio State, Gonzaga, Duke and Butler.