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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Guard Walter Clayton Jr. withdraws from draft, will return to Florida

Clayton Jr. was the Gators' lead scorer last season

Gators men's basketball guard Walter Clayton Jr. shoots a floater in the team's win over Georgia in Athens on Saturday, February 17, 2024.
Gators men's basketball guard Walter Clayton Jr. shoots a floater in the team's win over Georgia in Athens on Saturday, February 17, 2024.

After testing the NBA Draft waters, guard Walter Clayton Jr. made his decision: he will return to Florida for his senior season, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on X.

Clayton Jr., the Gators leading scorer in the 2023-24 season, recently participated in the G League Elite Camp before deciding to return to Gainesville.

The guard began his collegiate career at Iona, winning the 2023 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year award in his sophomore season after averaging 16.8 points per game for the Gaels.

Following his sophomore campaign, Clayton Jr. chose to transfer to Florida to play under head coach Todd Golden, and he made an instant impact for the Gators.

The junior started all 36 games he played in, averaging a team-high 17.6 points per game while shooting 43.2 from the field and 36.5 percent from three on 255 attempts.

He finished the season scoring at least 20 points in nine of the Gators’ final 14 games of the season, which included a 33-point outing in Florida’s NCAA Tournament Round of 64 defeat to Colorado.

His 633 total points last season ranked fifth in program history, and his 33 points in the March Madness bout placed him second on the Gators leaderboard for points in an NCAA Tournament game.

“If we retain Walt, if he comes back,” head coach Todd Golden said. “He’s going to be playing on the ball a lot more.”

Clayton Jr. returns alongside upcoming senior guard Will Richard, who announced his return to Florida on X on May 25.

Florida added former Florida Atlantic guard Alijah Martin, former Chattanooga forward Sam Alexis, and former Washington State center Rueben Chinyelu to the 2024 roster via a transfer portal.

Contact Max Bernstein at mbernstein@alligator.org. Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.

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Max Bernstein



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