The following is a list of key bullet points from the UF men’s basketball team’s 2017-18 resume:
A third straight 20-win season
A third-place finish in the SEC — a league that broke its own record with eight teams qualifying for the NCAA Tournament this year.
An NCAA-best six wins over ranked opponents
But Mike White is still hungry for more.
“As you look back on the season there’s a few regrets,” White said on Wednesday, reflecting on his third year as the Gators head coach. “But there was a lot of positivity, too.”
There is plenty of uncertainty heading into the 2018-19 season. All-SEC point guard Chris Chiozza, leading rebounder Egor Koulechov and former defensive centerpiece John Egbunu are all gone. Leading scorer Jalen Hudson could join them as well, as he declared for the NBA draft on March 27 but did not sign with an agent, meaning he still has the option to return to UF.
White and Hudson still keep in regular contact as well.
“He’s here and going through workouts every day,” White said of the 6-foot-6 shooting guard.
Regardless of what happens with Hudson, White feels good about the other backcourt players he has to work with. White expects senior KeVaughn Allen and sophomore Mike Okauru to battle for the starting point guard spot.
“Mike Okauru and KeVaughn Allen will tell you it’s theirs to lose,” White said. “That should be their mentality.”
He didn’t rule out incoming freshman Andrew Nembhard either.
“I think Andrew’s thinking (it’s his to lose as well),” White said. “Andrew will come in and be hands down the best passer in the program.”
There are also questions regarding the team’s big men.
Junior forward Keith Stone and senior center Kevarrius Hayes are expected to lead an inexperienced frontcourt that lacked depth last season due to injuries. Egbunu missed the entire year recovering from a torn ACL and decided not to petition for a medical redshirt, instead opting to pursue a professional career. Forwards Isaiah Stokes (missed every game in 2017-18 due to a torn ACL) and Chase Johnson (missed 28 games in 2017-18 due to concussions) will both compete for minutes in the fall as redshirt freshmen.
Stone battled inconsistency as a sophomore, something White hopes to eliminate during his junior campaign.
“We’ve got to find a role for (Stone) earlier in the season,” White said. “It took awhile for him to really get going this year.”
White also expects new associate head coach Armon Gates to provide a boost to the team. Gates — who was hired on Sunday — helped guide Northwestern to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history in 2016-17.
“I look to bring tons of energy,” Gates said. “My nickname is the Energizer Bunny.”
In all, White thinks he has the pieces — returning and on the way — to put together a successful fourth-year campaign.
“It's an exciting time,” he said. “I wish practice started tomorrow.”