Omar Payne becomes fourth Florida basketball player to enter transfer portal, per report

By Adam Silverstein
March 30, 2021
Omar Payne becomes fourth Florida basketball player to enter transfer portal, per report
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

The immense offseason attrition from the Florida Gators basketball program continued Tuesday when sophomore forward Omar Payne entered the transfer portal, according to 247Sports’ Thomas Goldkamp. Payne is the fourth Florida player to enter the portal and looks to be among more than a handful that will leave the team this offseason.

Payne played a reserve role for the Gators this past season, averaging 15.7 minutes per game while posting 3.8 points and 3.2 rebounds. He was largely inconsistent from game to game, but he frequently came through with big efforts against UF’s toughest opponents. Payne was suspended for the first game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament for disciplinary reasons that head coach Mike White chose not to speak about further after the game. This came after Payne was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected from the SEC Tournament for throwing an elbow.

Payne joins junior guard Noah Locke, junior F Osayi Osifo and sophomore point guard Ques Glover as Florida players currently in the transfer portal. All could decide to come back to the program and are not forced to depart after entering the portal, though such returns are not common.

Sophomore PG Tre Mann has hired an agent and entered the 2021 NBA Draft, and junior F Colin Castleton has decided to test the NBA Draft waters, though Castleton is believed to be returning to the program after receiving an evaluation as it is unlikely he will receive a draftable grade.

The Gators are also waiting on official word from junior F Keyontae Johnson, the 2020 Preseason SEC Player of the Year whose season ended in December after he collapsed minutes into a road game against Florida State. Johnson was ruled out for the season but remained with the team in a bench advisory role; he has not yet announced his long-term health status and whether he could return to play at UF or elsewhere.

If all the players in the portal leave, Castelton returns and Johnson does not, the Gators will be down six scholarship players in one offseason assuming no additional departures. This as Florida is only welcoming in a single freshman as part of the Class of 2021, four-star G Kowacie Reeves.

Though White has done a fantastic job acquiring players off the portal throughout his tenure with the Gators, that is not how a coach should be assembling half of his roster six years into his career at a university.

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