From the hardwood to the coaches, up to the faces, and down to the laces, everything will be sparkling new for Florida’s season opener against Stony Brook. The game will spell the first glance at the new-look Gators under debutant Head Coach Todd Golden, in what is sure to be a special night.
Golden will be looking to establish his brand of basketball made famous at San Francisco. Success built on defense, rebounding and ball security bolstered by Golden’s eye for the talent to do just that.
Transfers offer strength
The loss of Gator-favorite Tyree Appleby meant a hole to fill for Golden.
In his last season for the Gators, Appleby averaged 10.9 points per game and 3.7 assists on 84.8% free throw shooting. He formed part of the “Shaq and Kobe” one-two punch with Colin Castleton that saw the Gators earn historic upsets on the season.
How has Golden responded to the open guard spot?
Welcome, Trey Bonham and Kyle Lofton. The transfer guards have been heating it up in practice and look to bring the chomp back into the Gators’ frontcourt in their debut.
Lofton, the front-runner for the starting point guard spot, comes to Florida off a 12.8-point season at St. Bonaventure. The 6’3 senior looks to bring experience out of the playmaking spot for Florida backed by junior transfer Trey Bonham. Bonham comes off a season where he averaged 11.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for Virginia Military Institute.
Perhaps the most exciting transfer, LSU’s Alex Fudge will look to bring high-flying action to Florida. Fudge’s athleticism was on full display during Florida’s Orange and Blue game festivities.
Heading into the game, Golden feels confident about Fudge and the rest of the new additions to the Gators in a team that prides itself on depth.
The Old Guard
In the midst of the coaching transition, the Gators have kept a substantial core of returners in the fold with Colin Castleton, C.J. Felder, Jason Jitoboh, Myreon Jones, Niels Lane and Kowacie Reeves.
Key among them is the big man, a former transfer himself, Colin Castleton.
The face of the Gators, the star big man averaged 16.2 points last season on 2.2 blocks.
Castleton forms part of the three veteran players utilizing their fifth season of eligibility.
The 6’10 senior will continue to star for a Gators team picked to finish seventh in the SEC. To Castleton, the poll means nothing to a Gators team headed into Stony Brook on a mission.
Golden Era Preview
Tonight will be the second meeting between Florida and Stony Brook in as many years. The first matchup finished with an 87-62 win for the Gators. Golden will look to have a repeat performance as he looks to establish himself in front of the Florida faithful.
Who will start? Who will rise? Is Golden the real deal?
Many answers will be provided tonight as the Gators step into the Golden era.
— Florida Gators Men’s Basketball (@GatorsMBK) November 7, 2022