Florida Gators Basketball Recruiting: Class Of 2015 Making Its Mark
The recruiting class of 2015 is making its mark and leading the Florida Gators men’s basketball team to intriguing success during the 2016-17 season.
The Florida Gators men’s basketball team secured a quietly impressive 2015 recruiting class. Despite securing commitments from three four-star recruits, however, Florida’s moves were generally overlooked.
Thus far during the 2016-17 college basketball season, head coach Mike White is looking brilliant for his recruiting.
Florida quietly secured commitments from four-star recruits KeVaughn Allen, Kevarrius Hayes, and Keith Stone. All were ranked on the ESPN 100, but placement outside of the Top 50 resulted in many downplaying the importance of their acquisition.
In their second season in Gainesville, however, the trio of Allen, Hayes, and Stone have played an invaluable role in the revitalization of the men’s basketball program.
Florida is currently 14-3 overall and 5-0 against SEC opponents. It ranks No. 1 in the country in non-conference strength of schedule, No. 2 in overall strength of schedule, No. 3 in BPI, and No. 14 in opponent strength of schedule.
Florida already has four wins over teams in the RPI 1-50 and another five over teams in the RPI 51-100.
Of the Gators’ losses, all three were against teams in the Top 15 in RPI. It lost by just five points to the No. 5 Gonzaga Bulldogs, fell by 10 points to the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils, and dropped a game by five points to the No. 9 Florida State Seminoles.
The key to the Gators’ exceptional success through 17 games has been depth and balance, with Allen, Hayes, and Stone playing significant roles in most games.
Allen currently leads the Gators with an average of 13.9 points per game. He’s also averaging 2.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 2.1 3-point field goals made on a slash line of .452/.398/.868.
Allen has scored in excess of 20 points per game on four different occasions, including the season-high 23 points he scored during the win over the Tennessee Volunteers.
As a result of his recent success, Allen was named SEC Player of the Week.
— SEC (@SEC) January 9, 2017
While Allen is emerging as a star in the SEC, Hayes has taken a less glamorous route to a bigger role. He’s played in excess of 20 games in four of the Gators’ past seven games, as well as 15-plus minutes in six of seven.
During his 17 appearances for the Gators, Hayes is averaging 13.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 offensive boards, 3.2 blocks, and 1.1 steals per 40 minutes.
As for Stone, his redshirt freshman season has been nothing short of sensational. He broke out with 15 points and eight rebounds against the Miami Hurricanes and posted 10 points and two blocks against the Charlotte 49ers.
In his two most recent games, Stone posted 14 points in 16 minutes against the Alabama Crimson Tide and had a career-high 17 points in an overtime victory over the Georgia Bulldogs.
Rotate on defense✅
Block a shot into next July✅
Finish at the other end✅
— #InAllKindsOfWeather (@AllKindsWeather) December 30, 2016
In 17 games played, Stone has accumulated averages of 15.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.0 block, and 2.1 3-point field goals made per 40 minutes. He’s doing so while shooting an obscene 48.0 percent from 3-point range.
For as well as they’ve played individually, it’s the collective efforts of Allen, Hayes, and Stone that have defined the 2016-17 season.
The likes of Kasey Hill and John Egbunu have been invaluable, but Florida’s success wouldn’t be possible without its under-appreciated 2015 recruiting class. Allen has become the go-to scorer, Hayes is emerging as a consistent two-way contributor, and Stone is breaking out as a future star.
Behind the strength of a draft class that was criminally underrated at the time it was compiled, the Gators have built a potential contender.
The Mike White era is beginning to follow the 2015 recruiting class’s lead and exceed expectations.
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