Gators
Riley Kugel against Mississippi State in the SEC Tournament on March 9. Photo courtesy of Maddie Washburn.

Todd Golden Talks Offseason, Recruiting, SEC

Florida men’s hoops and head coach Todd Golden have welcomed a number of new recruits to the Orange & Blue this offseason.

Golden’s New Recruits

Golden said the end of the season is the most important recruiting period of the year.

And, Golden went into the recruitment process knowing they needed to improve by getting bigger, faster and stronger.

Florida took the first step by recruiting Alex Condon in the Spring and Thomas Haugh in the Fall of 2022.

After these two commits, the Gators were able to secure other great recruits. Early on in the portal, Florida signed E.J. Jarvis, Micah Handlogten, Walter Clayton JR and Tyrese Samuel.

The team has nine new players going into the 2023-2024 season.

The Returners

The Gators have just four players returning to the program.

Riley Kugel, breakout-freshman for Florida last season, begun getting some NBA Draft buzz at one point. But he decided to stay at Florida and continue his collegiate career under Todd Golden.

Kugel is now a 6’5″ sophomore who earned SEC All-Freshman Honors in the 2022-2023 season.

Golden called Will Richard, a 6’4″ junior who came along strong throughout last season alongside Kugel, a “great” piece for the team.

Denzel Aberdeen will return to Florida and play his sophomore year in the O-Dome. Aberdeen is a 6’5″, 4-star prospect out of Orlando who’s expected to take on somewhat of a larger role.

Alex Klatsky, a 6’4″ redshirt senior, will also return to the Gators. He is a walk-on who’s appeared in 17 games for Florida throughout his career.

With far more newcomers than veterans on this team this year, coach Golden said he plans to build the team by bonding and making sure guys play well together.

He plans to spend “a lot” of time building that bond between the players.

Golden Reflecting on First Year in the SEC

Coach Golden, reflecting on his first year in the SEC, said that while he experienced some great moments, such as beating Tennessee, there were also moments of struggle.

He and his staff are excited because they feel as if they have built a solid foundation for the program this past year, he said.

The Gators’ first game of the upcoming season is Nov. 10 vs. Virginia.

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