Florida basketball is preparing for their first game of the 2020 season to take place in exactly a week. Freshman forward Samson Ruzhentsev is ready to make his mark on the team.
Originally from Moscow, Russia, the six-foot-seven forward calls Chattanooga, Tenn. home. Ruzhentsev said he knew he always wanted to play basketball overseas. When the opportunity to come to the United States arrived, he took it.
Ruzhentsev graduated high school from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy where he helped the basketball team win three straight NACA National Championships.
As a senior, he averaged 19.3 points and six-point-three rebounds for Hamilton Heights. Ruzhentsev represented Russia in the FIBA U18 Euro Championships.
Getting recruited to play division one basketball at an SEC school, is no easy task. Ruzhentsev said he believes that it took more than just his basketball talent to land him a spot on the Gators roster.
Gators get an athletic wing with a polished offensive skill set. Just a perfect player for the modern game, and someone I think is one of the most underrated players in 2020. https://t.co/0BtZEVJh1c
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) October 4, 2019
Ruzhentsev spoke highly of Florida’s athletic program and said it is not for everyone.
Ruzhentsev pointed out that he thinks his toughness and character combined helped him get to Florida and will continue to help him make a mark on the program.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) October 20, 2020
Tennessee to Florida
Although he is new to Gainesville, the freshman is no stranger to his teammates. Ruzhentsev played high school basketball with Florida sophomore center Jason Jitoboh. They played two years together at Hamilton Heights.
Ruzhentsev and guard Ques Glover have played against each other but never on the same team. Glover is also from Tennessee.
Chasing a Dream
Ruzhentsev originally planned on being in Gainesville for both summer A and B, but COVID-19 changed those plans. With the season being pushed back, he arrived on campus when everyone else did in late July.
Florida basketball will kick off the season on Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. ET against UMass Lowell. The game will take place in Uncasville, Conn., in the Basketball Hall of Fame Bubbleville.