UF received a big boost for the 2020-21 season on Monday.
A former McDonald's All-American and projected lottery pick before last season, guard Scottie Lewis announced his intentions to return to Florida for his sophomore campaign via social media on Monday morning.
"As you all know, we have some unfinished business," Lewis tweeted. "Our season was cut short, and we were not able to complete our season the way we were supposed to. My dream of playing in the NBA is still a top priority, but my heart is in Gainesville. With that being said, I am more than happy to announce that I will be returning for the 2020-21 season."
The All-SEC Freshman Team member averaged 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game in 30 appearances (22 starts) this past season. His defensive prowess was always on full display thanks to his freakish athletic ability. He did, however, struggle in stretches on the offensive side of the ball but was improving toward the end of the regular season.
Lewis achieved double-digit scoring in three of the last four games, including a career-high 19 points in what would be the team's final game of the season against Kentucky on March 7.
Most of the NBA Draft projections had Lewis being drafted in the second round, but with all of the unpredictability surrounding the NBA offseason due to the coronavirus pandemic, he thought it was best to return to school.
"I’m an optimistic person and no matter where I get drafted, I’m going to work my butt off,” Lewis told Stadium's Jeff Goodman. “But with all this uncertainty, it was best for me to play it safe and put myself in a better position a year from now.”
Now, both former five-star recruits in Lewis and guard Tre Mann are expected back for a second year under coach Mike White.
However, there are still question marks surrounding the status of the team heading into next season.
The prospects with the most draft potential behind Lewis that have yet to announce their decisions for the Gators are guard Andrew Nembhard and forward Keyontae Johnson.
A year ago, Nembhard tested the NBA waters and decided to return to school. Because of that, it was almost an assumption he'd leave after his sophomore season.
However, he failed to boost his draft stock much from where it was a year ago. With the possibility of a canceled NBA combine, no team workouts or face-to-face meetings, he wouldn't have much of a chance to improve that standing.
Johnson, for many, is a fringe second-round pick.
The 6-foot-5 four-man is ranked 63rd on Sports Illustrated's "NBA Draft Big Board" list, which would leave him three spots away from being drafted in that scenario.
The sophomore led the team in scoring by averaging 14 PPG in 31 starts.
He has enough talent offensively to play in the NBA right now, but another solid campaign as a junior probably propels him to the first round in 2021.
In a normal NBA offseason minus the coronavirus shutdown, there's a high chance all three leave Florida. But now, if all three end up returning, expect Florida to be on people's radars once again come November.
You can follow Evan Lepak on Twitter @evanmplepak and contact him at [email protected]