The Gators men’s basketball team already had a top-10 class to look forward to this fall. On Friday, it made yet another huge addition.
UF announced that Kerry Blackshear Jr., a 6-foot-10 power forward from Orlando, had transferred to Florida from Virginia Tech. The Gators have had great success with Hokies in the past, as the team’s highest scoring graduate transfers in Jalen Hudson and Dorian Finney-Smith both started their collegiate careers at VT. Blackshear Jr. is a graduate transfer himself, and he’ll be able to play for the Gators immediately.
Blackshear Jr.’s arrival should make an immediate impact on the roster. He earned a Second Team All-ACC nod for his efforts with the Hokies last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.5 rebounds in his 2018-2019 campaign. He helped cap off VT’s season with five double-doubles in his last 10 games and put up 18 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the Hokies’ loss to Duke in the Sweet 16.
Blackshear was a crucial element of Virginia Tech’s success last year, and coach Mike White will look to bring his abilities to an already talented UF basketball team.
“He’s just become so integral to literally everything we do on both ends,” former Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said in a release after VT’s victory over Notre Dame last season. “When I took (Blackshear Jr.) out in the second half, he was just exhausted because he is so important to what we were doing.”
Blackshear Jr.’s arrival bolsters an already impressive UF roster. Returning forwards Dontay Bassett and Isaiah Stokes averaged a mere 2.7 points each last year, so the new big man should make an instant impact in Gainesville. Blackshear Jr. is joined by another forward in 6-foot-9 recruit Omar Payne, who was ranked No. 43 in the 247Sports rankings, as well as five-star recruits Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis.
With sophomores Andrew Nembhard, Noah Locke and Keyontae Johnson returning this season, Blackshear Jr. will slot right into a UF squad that retains three of its starting five from last year.
Blackshear Jr. chose Florida over Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, along with a possible return to Virginia Tech. He entered this year’s NBA Draft, but he withdrew his name just hours before the deadline.
Florida has the seventh-ranked 2019 class in the NCAA and the second-best class in the SEC, according to 247Sports.
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells. Contact him at [email protected].