Florida basketball: Kowacie Reeves enters transfer portal for second straight year; Niels Lane does, too

By OnlyGators.com Staff
March 16, 2023
Florida basketball: Kowacie Reeves enters transfer portal for second straight year; Niels Lane does, too

Image Credit: UAA

Despite being successfully re-recruited by head coach Todd Golden to remain with the Florida Gators after entering the transfer portal following the 2021-22 season, sophomore guard Kowacie Reeves has again decided to seek another opportunity. Reeves on Thursday entered the portal for the second time in as many offseasons, according to multiple reports. This after losing his spot in the starting lineup early in the season and playing inconsistent basketball for the majority of the campaign.

Reeves, who was a bright spot for the Gators as a true freshman, averaged 16.3 points and 4.3 rebounds across the team’s postseason games last year. However, expectations that he would become one of Florida’s premier players for the 2022-23 campaign never materialized.

After starting seven of the Gators’ first 10 games, he did not return to the opening five for the remainder of the season. Reeves finished the year averaging 8.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game. He shot 37.7% from the field (down from 37.9% as a freshman) and 26.2% from long range (down from 33.3%).

The hope was that Reeves would be the 1B to redshirt senior forward Colin Castleton’s 1A. Instead, he lost his starting job and was eventually supplanted from a playmaking standpoint by freshman G Riley Kugel, the first Florida freshman to score in double digits across 10 straight games since Bradley Beal (2011-12).

Kugel ultimately averaged 9.9 points and 2.8 boards, totals that increased to 17.3 points and 3.7 boards over Florida’s final 10 games. He started 16 games in total, including the final 13 contests of the season. Golden will now focus on retaining Kugel this offseason.

Junior G Niels Lane is also expected to transfer, according to the Gainesville Sun. Lane averaged 2.4 points and 1.2 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game, nearly half of the court time he got last season.

Reeves’ departure is not unexpected given his declining play and lack of on-court opportunities, and it stands to reason that Golden was likely prepared to move on from the player despite the retention of Reeves being one of the feathers in the coach’s cap entering the season.

Even without further attrition, the Gators will likely have at least seven roster spots open entering the 2023-24 campaign. Golden has previously stated that he prefers to build the roster through the portal rather than recruit players out of high school.

UF’s Class of 2023 is currently ranked 88th nationally with only three-star F Thomas Haugh (Pennsburg, PA) signed; unrated Australian center Alex Condon is also committed. Ranked No. 42 overall in the Class of 2021, Reeves was the Gators’ highest-rated signee since 2019.

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