Three transfer announcements in just over 24 hours.
Forward Deaundre Ballard, guard Mike Okauru and forward Keith Stone announced their intentions to transfer from Florida within a span of 24 hours. Stone and Okauru’s announcements came within two hours of each other on Tuesday. Ballard announced Wednesday afternoon. With these transfers and the graduation of Mak Krause, Florida now has four available scholarships to offer.
Wishing all the best to Deaundrae Ballard, who has opted to transfer. https://t.co/THcJPmvAok
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) March 27, 2019
Ballard Says Bye
If you were to mention at the start of the season that Ballard would be transferring, not many would believe you. Ballard was one of the better stories to start the season. He appeared to be coming into form as a legitimate bench contributor for the Gators.
In the win against Stanford back in November, Ballard led the team with 19 points, which was his career high. He posted six double-digit scoring performances in Florida’s first ten games. Ballard was shooting 49.3% from the field during that opening stretch to the season.
However, as the season went on, his offensive efficiency started to decline. And with that, so did his playing time. Ballard saw the floor in four of the team’s final nine games.
Thankful for the teammates I had at Florida and the Rowdies who supported, but I’ve decided to transfer and purse other options.
— Michael Okauru (@mokauru_3) March 26, 2019
The first to announce his decision to transfer was Okauru. He sent out his announcement via Twitter shortly after 2:40 p.m. In the post, he thanked his teammates and fans.
The decision for Okauru was an expected one. His minutes were cut noticeably this year. Okauru played an average of 6.4 minutes per game this year. This is a huge drop off from the 11.1 minutes per game he had in the 2017-18 season.
This wasn’t the only drop for the backup point guard. His field goal percentage went from 46.5% to 37.8%. With the addition of top recruit Tre Mann for the 2019-20 season and the presence of Andrew Nembhard, the minutes could be scarce for Okauru if he stayed.
— K.Stone (@Keith_Stone25) March 26, 2019
About two hours following Okauru’s announcement, another Gator announced his decision to leave the program. This one came as a shock to Gator fans. Forward Keith Stone took to Twitter to announce his transfer move. In the post, he said he will always be a Gator and thanked the university for all the love and support.
Stone’s decision to leave the program was a surprising one. He missed much of the second half of the season after suffering an ACL tear in the team’s 62-52 win over Georgia in January. Stone started the first 12 games for Florida but sent to the bench in favor of Jalen Hudson. He averaged 6.05 points per game before the injury.
End of the Year Presser
Gators head coach Mike White will hold his end of the year press conference tomorrow at 10 a.m. The transfers of these three and the team’s approach into the off-season will surely be addressed.