basketball Edit

Examining how UF's basketball signees fared in their 2019-2020 campaigns

Mike White's program did well once again with their recruiting efforts in the 2020 cycle as the Gators signed a pair of top-100 overall prospects and a JUCO product.

Florida kicked things off by reeling in a commitment from three-star power forward Osayi Osifo on September 29, 2019.

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Then, in the span of five days in early October, UF received verbal pledges from Rivals150 seniors Niels Lane and Samson Ruzhentsev.

With each of these players signed and set to make the move to Gainesville in a few months, GatorsTerritory takes a look at how each future Gator has performed in their 2019-2020 campaigns thus far.

Included below are season averages, as well as quotes from each signee and their head coaches.

Season Averages (in progress): 11.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Shooting 55.4 percent from the field, 70.3 percent from the charity stripe and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Osifo's thoughts on his senior season: "My three-point shooting is getting better. I’m more confident with that by the day and, overall, understanding basic basketball like spacing, timing and when to attack. That goes for in the post or all the way to beating a close-out."

What he needs to improve on prior to coming to Gainesville: "Putting on weight first. [I'm] looking to make a jump to reach around 230. Shooting from outside the arc and attacking off of my quick first step."

Perspective from Eastern Florida State College Head Coach Jeremy Shulman: "Osayi is just such a great all-around player. He is a phenomenal defender that can guard five positions, is an outstanding rebounder and an elite finisher. He has developed and approved in every single aspect since his freshman year."

Shulman on what Osifo needs to do before arriving at UF: "I think the biggest thing is just putting on a little bit more weight and strength. He is a strong kid and very athletic, but for the rigors of the SEC, I think he needs another 15 pounds. And with the amazing situation at Florida, I think this will be very attainable, especially with his work ethic."

Season Averages (still in progress): 14 points per game.

Lane's thoughts on his senior season: "My senior season didn't go as planned at first. Being sick during the first half of my season and then missing seven games because of it was definitely not the game plan.

"Fortunately, I was able to bounce back and play to my potential. My game has improved in a lot of ways this season, but the one thing that stands out to me the most is my decision making on the floor."

What he needs to improve on prior to coming to Gainesville: "There is one major thing I feel like I need to work on before I step foot on campus and that is my shooting range. The game is evolving and a consistent three-point shot is a must if I want to be successful in the SEC."

Perspective from Roselle Catholic Head Coach Dave Boff: "Niels has had a great year. Unfortunately missed a month due to illness, but he's starting to look like himself again. We hope he finishes the season strong."

Boff on what Lane needs to do before arriving at UF: "I think continuing to work on his three-point shooting will be an area of focus this offseason."

Rivals basketball recruiting analyst Corey Evans: "He is valued for his toughness and size in the backcourt. The 6-foot-5 guard is a great athlete that can defend, playmake and score, and should be an immediate plug-in once he enrolls next fall.

"Lane was a fine producer on the Nike circuit [last] summer. While his jump shot remains a work in progress, he is capable of filling up the box score. He posted per-game averages of 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists with the Team Final program."

Season Averages (prior to NACA Division 1 National Championships): 19.1 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 27 minutes per game. Shooting 50.1 percent from the field, 76.3 percent from the charity stripe and 40.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Ruzhentsev's thoughts on his senior season: "I think I've had a good year. I improved in every category compared to last year and just added more to my game overall. Also, we had a great year as a team, being ranked number two at some point and only losing three games."

What he needs to improve on prior to coming to Gainesville: "Before getting to UF, I want to keep improving my ball handling and ability to create off the dribble. But definitely keep improving my shooting because that's probably going to be most of my shots."

Perspective from Hamilton Heights Head Coach Zach Ferrell: "Samson has had a phenomenal senior season. He has led us in scoring at 19.1 while shooting 40% from 3. Increased his rebounding average to seven a game while leading us to a top-10 ranking and a 26-3 record and several wins over other top-25 teams.

"He is a fierce competitor who can really shoot the ball at 6-foot-7. He also has high-level athleticism, especially in the full court. I think he will bring great shot-making ability to the Gators and someone who will come to compete every single day. He is very focused and a relentless worker."

Ferrell on what Ruzhentsev needs to do before arriving at UF: "He is two and a half months away from being at Florida, so I would say just improving his body and increasing his current strengths during this short stretch before he gets on campus will be the most important."

Rivals basketball recruiting analyst Eric Bossi: "He has great positional size, is a very good athlete and most of all he is a dangerous shooter. He showed an edge to him as well and doesn't mind scrapping a bit.

"If he knocks down a couple of looks, he gets rolling real fast and in a game where shooting comes at a premium, he's got the goods to become a high-level SEC player and gives Mike White and the Gators an added dimension."

Stay tuned to GatorsTerritory.