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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Gators land Iona standout guard Walter Clayton Jr.

Clayton was Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year

Florida head coach Todd Golden watches his team from the sideline during the Gators' 69-68 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Florida head coach Todd Golden watches his team from the sideline during the Gators' 69-68 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Iona sophomore guard Walter Clayton Jr. announced his commitment to the Florida Gators Tuesday. 

Clayton was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year in his sophomore season after he averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-3-inch guard chose Florida over St. John’s — where his former head coach Rick Pitino currently resides. 

He is the third transfer to join the Gators along with former Yale graduate student forward EJ Jarvis and former Marshall freshman center Micah Handlogten

UF head coach Todd Golden has stayed busy in the transfer portal as he landed Handlogten and Clayton over a two-day span.

The Bartow, Florida, product shot 95.3% from the free throw line — the best mark in the nation, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. 

Clayton shot the ball efficiently in his second season with the Gaels. He shot at a 45.5% clip from the field and 43.1% from beyond the arc. He wasn’t afraid to shoot 3-pointers at a high volume and averaged 5.2 attempts from deep during the 2022-2023 season. 

The Iona transfer also showed his defensive prowess as he averaged 1.8 steals per game last season. 

Although Clayton started his college career at Iona, the Florida native has had ties with UF since high school. 

Clayton was a former football player before he switched to basketball. He garnered attention from UF’s football team and even received an offer before he ultimately ended up at Iona to play basketball.  

The junior guard was also teammates with former Gators defensive lineman Gervon Dexter at Lake Wales High School. Dexter sent out several Tweets about Clayton during his portal process. 

Clayton visited St John’s and Florida but ultimately chose to stay closer to his hometown.

Contact Jackson Reyes at jacksonreyes@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JacksnReyes

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Jackson Reyes

Jackson Reyes is a UF journalism senior and The Alligator's Fall 2023 Sports Editor. He previously served as Digital Managing Editor and was a reporter and assistant editor on the sports desk. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and watching Bo Nix.


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