Feb 14, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Mike White on the sideline during overtime against the Georgia Bulldogs at Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Gators’ Men’s Basketball Hosts Lynn University in Exhibition Game

The Florida Gator men’s basketball team play the Lynn Fighting Knights in an exhibition game at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Roaring expectations

The preseason AP poll ranks the Gators at No. 6, which matches the second-highest preseason ranking in program history (No. 1 in 2006-07, No. 6 in 2001-02). AP voters also placed a multitude of Gators on watchlists for national awards this season.

It is safe to say that expectations for Mike White’s squad this year are high. The 2019 recruiting class included two McDonald’s All-Americans: Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis, along with 6’10” forward Omar Payne.

Gators head coach Mike White said he’s impressed with the freshman on his squad. He expects them to improve in all aspects of their game throughout the season.

Transfer leadership

White cited graduate-transfer Kerry “KJ” Blackshear Jr. as an emerging leader on the team. He said that it’s rare to have someone like Blackshear who has so much game experience in a locker room.


Blackshear averaged 14.9 points per game for Virginia Tech last season en route to an All-ACC season. He was recognized by the SEC as the Preseason SEC player of the year, so it’s safe to say that expectations for him are high.

KJ will look to add leadership and experience to a Gators squad that will start four underclassmen this season.

Heading into tip-off

The projected starting line-up against Lynn includes (G) Andrew Nembhard, (G) Noah Locke, (G) Scottie Lewis, (F) Kerry Blackshear, and (F) Keyontae Johnson.

With Mike White historically emphasizing defense for his teams, look for him to experiment with different zone schemes against Lynn. Working in different defenses early could help his freshman gain confidence in his system, which can foster big plays later in the season.

Look for White to substitute often. In a game that has little significance and that the Gators should win easily, younger players can get the opportunity to play minutes and gain experience.

About Steven Walker

Steven Walker is a beat writer for ESPN Gainesville and is currently studying Journalism & Sports Media at the University of Florida.

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