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Monday, October 02, 2023

Ways to shrink basketball team's roster by one

With news from spring football and March Madness constantly swirling, UF's season-ending loss in the NIT was probably a mere blip on your radar.

But things are about to get interesting for the men's basketball team.

The NCAA allows only 13 scholarship players per year. As of right now, UF has overbooked its roster by one for next season.

With nine scholarship players eligible to return and a five-man signing class, someone has got to go.

UF coach Billy Donovan is confident that this predicament will be a non-issue come July, when the 2008-09 class is due to attend summer session.

Donovan didn't foresee Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh peace-ing out early, and when Taurean Green was a freshman, his father promised Donovan the point guard would be around for all four years.

"I have been here now for 12 years; I don't think we have ever had 13 guys on school scholarship," he said. "So I didn't have the slightest idea how we would get to that point, but generally it works out."

So here's the breakdown of what could potentially happen in the next three months:

Marreese Speights jumps to the NBA

Speights would probably benefit from another year of college basketball. Though his offensive game is pretty smooth, his defensive game definitely needs work. has Speights (14.5 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game) projected as a lottery pick. After UF bowed out of the NIT, Speights said he would have to talk to Donovan and his family about his future.

Donovan said he would "absolutely" put in paperwork to the NBA for Speights if the center asked him to.

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Jonathan Mitchell transfers

New York's former Mr. Basketball has struggled to find his role at UF. His offensive game never really clicked, and he struggled to become a lockdown defender.

After 3.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game, Mitchell might look for a smaller school closer to home.

Adam Allen focuses on baseball or transfers

The baseball team is strapped for scholarships as it is, but if Allen makes more of an impact at McKethan Stadium than the O'Dome he could become a single-sport athlete next season.

When the Gators hosted Vanderbilt on Jan. 27, Allen didn't make his way onto the court until 24 seconds remained in the game.

At the time, his father, Randy, said his son was so upset that "if (his parents) hadn't been there, he probably would have packed his bags and come home. … He doesn't have to be out there in the limelight 30 minutes a game, but he wants to feel like he contributes whether they win or lose."

Allen's father said his son would have to wait to see how the rest of the season played out and then evaluate the situation.

Allen's heart seems to lie with hoops, but he's also a 6-foot-8, 206-pound pitcher who can hurl a nearly 90-mile-per-hour fastball. If he wants to continue playing ball after college, it's probably going to be on the diamond instead of the hardwood.

One of the recruits doesn't come through

UF has had its share of recruits fail to materialize.

Kwame Brown elected to enter the NBA Draft and go as the first pick in 2001 instead of playing college ball at UF.

Derwin Kitchen didn't academically qualify in 2005, and when shooting guard Doneal Mack's ACT score didn't meet UF's standards in 2006, he headed to Memphis.

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