The new era of Florida basketball is quietly underway. Despite little news from head coach Todd Golden’s group since the end of its transfer portal activities, the Gators have initiated their transition into next season.
A big part of that transition is Florida’s transfers. Alex Fudge, WIll Richard, Trey Bonham and Kyle Lofton all made commitments to UF this offseason. With one scholarship spot still unreserved, there’s still room for more. Tuesday, Florida introduced Bonham and Lofton to the media, which provided a look at UF’s trajectory this season.
Bonham, who just wrapped up his freshman season at the Virginia Military Institute, seems excited about the change of pace at Florida.
“That first week [at VMI] I was like ‘I don’t even want to play basketball anymore, get me out of here.’” Bonham said. He added that his father helped him stay focused and succeed at VMI.
The 5-foot-11 guard averaged 11.7 points in seven games as a starter for VMI. He was the only freshman to start on the team this past season and was awarded Southern Conference all-freshman honors.
Bonham said he likes to keep some of the habits he picked up at the military academy and thinks the work ethic and discipline he learned will translate to the court at UF.
The Mobile, Alabama, native said growing up in the south made him familiar with the Southeastern Conference, and that it “didn’t take much” to get him to Florida.
Lofton, a fifth-year guard out of St. Bonaventure, had a slightly different outlook ahead of committing to the Gators. Lofton said he didn’t plan on departing from the Bonnies until some of his former teammates decided to leave.
He said Florida wasn’t one of his top schools during recruitment, mentioning a top three of Rutgers, Iowa State and Arizona.
“The staff,” Lofton indicated as his reason for choosing UF. “I liked the style, I liked the goals they had for me and I think it’s a great place for me.”
Lofton averaged 12.8 points and 5.9 assists in 38.5 minutes per game last season. His experience and court vision is expected to make an immediate impact for Florida. He mentioned that the Gators’ fast-paced style enticed him to transfer.
One thing the two transfers shared were their views on the staff and roster at UF. Both cited the young, energetic new staff at Florida as something they are excited about. Lofton added that Todd Golden lifts with the players in the weight room.
“Everyone’s happy to be here,” Lofton said. “Everyone wants to learn, get better.”
It’s a little too early to get a clear picture of this year’s edition of Florida basketball, but it seems things are coming together nicely so far.
Jackson Castellano is a second-year sports journalism student and the assistant sports editor at the Alligator. In the past, he has covered UF basketball and baseball for the Alligator and was an associate editor at ClutchPoints.