The Gators had a solid, but unspectacular season. Six of the fifteen presason top 25s I tracked in the Vitale Cup included the Gators in their preseason top 10, and it's likely that fewer prognosticators will be that bullish this year. UF graduates Kenny Boynton, Mike Rosario and Erik Murphy, and there's a solid chance that junior Patric Young departs early for the draft. This from a team which won 29 games but failed to win their conference tourney or to advance to the Final Four despite being given the easiest path for any non-1 seed in history.
It wasn't a bad season, just won't that won't be sung about through the ages.
Assuming Young goes pro, the Gators are bound to take a step back, right? The leftover parts that played significant minutes this year are Scottie Wilbekin, Will Yeguete, Casey Prather, and Michael Frazier. That's not a core that is going to strike fear in many opponents.
But this is where recruiting steps in, and Billy Donovan has done a masterful job building this roster.
Last summer Donovan landed two of the most coveted transfers on the market. Dorian Finney-Smith was a tremendously talented prep player, and was the consensus No. 22 recruit in the nation. He has all the ability to become a legit wing, and at his size, that's a problem for opponents. He struggled in his first year in college but that is because he wasn't ready physically to take over games against such good talent. He was still a high school player getting by on freakish athleticism. He also wasn't mentally ready, as evidenced by his 0-25 shooting streak he went through at the beginning of ACC play.
The 2nd transfer is Damontre Harris from South Carolina. He is a former consensus top 75 recruit, and got exactly what his game needed – a year off to add strength and work on his non-existent post game. At worst he'll be a very good defender who will be a terror on the offensive glass.
Then there are the new recruits. The Gators landed arguably the best point guard in the nation in Kasey Hill, as well as another 5* power forward with Chris Walker.
Combine all of that with a solid set of young guys who waited their turn this year – Braxton Ogbueze, Dillon Graham, DeVon Walker – and the Gators are loaded. They'll have three consensus top-25 players and five more top-100. And that's without Patric Young.
They may not be as seasoned as this year's roster, but there is no reason to think that they can't accomplish the same things. And if everything gels, they'll be a young, high flying, fun team to watch.