With UF's basketball season approaching crunch time, GatorsTerritory caught up with basketball signee Samson Ruzhentsev to discuss a variety of topics.

Ruzhentsev, the 47th-ranked prospect in the 2020 Rivals150, details his experience with the recruiting process, how he’s been able to prepare for the next level, what Gator fans should expect, and more.

When did Mike White and his staff start recruiting you?

SR: “(UF’s) whole coaching staff came to practice for someone who was on our roster (current Gator Jason Jitoboh) and we scrimmaged. I played well and they offered me a scholarship."

You played with current Gator big man Jason Jitoboh last year; did that have any impact on your decision to choose the University of Florida?

SR: “He was my host when I was there (official visit), and I talked to him a lot about it while on the visit and he definitely helped my decision.”

You took official visits to Ole Miss, Stanford and Florida. What was it about your UF visit that set the Gators apart from additional suitors?

SR: “When I visited Florida, it was just different than the other visits. Just the way I felt, how they treated me. The coaches were honest with me about what my role is going to be next year. The players were great, I spent a lot of time with them and it just felt like the right place for me. I watched practice twice and they practiced for three and a half hours both times and that’s what I feel I need.”

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