Florida fans accepted the initial departure of point guard Andrew Nembhard. Losing him twice, however, is a sucker punch to the gut.
On Saturday, Jeff Goodman reported via Twitter that Nembhard planned to withdraw from the NBA Draft and transfer.
He also declared for the draft after his freshman year but returned for his sophomore season. Any prior hope of this trend continuing is out the window.
Later on Sunday night, Nembhard made his transfer official in a post on his Twitter account. He cited the craziness and uncertainty regarding the NBA Draft during this time as the reason for his withdrawal.
“I felt it would be in my best interest to return to college and focus on continuing to develop as a player and an individual,” Nembhard said in the tweet. “I am also currently considering opportunities to transfer to another university for the upcoming academic year.”
Effect of Nembhard’s absence on the Gators
Florida is losing a key cog in its starting lineup; Nembhard started all of his 67 career games. This leaves the starting point guard position open for the first time in two years.
The transfer makes a lot of sense in regard to the fact that Nembhard never truly fit in coach Mike White’s offense. With faster, more athletic guards filling in, it’s likely that the offense plays more uptempo next season.
However, the tough task remains of replacing a floor general that dished out over five assists a game. The player that most expect to fill that void is Tyree Appleby.
Appleby transferred from Cleveland State and sat out last year due to eligibility. Despite facing weaker competition, his 5.6 assists per game and ability to score make him the leading candidate to fill Nembhard’s role.
In addition, the likes of Tre Mann, Ques Glover, Scottie Lewis and Keyontae Johnson will aid the offensive effort. Without Nembhard, the Gators must rely on their quickness in order to be effective on offense.
Potential landing spots for Nembhard
This morning, Nembhard officially entered the transfer portal. According to Jeff Borzello, many top colleges acted quickly. These include Gonzaga, Duke, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Memphis and Georgetown. He is a hot commodity.
Nembhard has the potential to be a lottery pick after finishing his college career at any of these schools. Don’t be surprised if he winds up at Gonzaga, Duke or even Villanova. Then again, Nembhard is full of surprises.