Florida basketball recruiting: Gators add Alijah Martin out of transfer portal from FAU

By OnlyGators.com Staff
April 21, 2024
Florida basketball recruiting: Gators add Alijah Martin out of transfer portal from FAU

Image Credit: FAU Athletics

Florida Gators head basketball coach Todd Golden’s pounding the recruiting trail continued to pay dividends Sunday with a third commitment out of the transfer portal. FAU guard Alijah Martin told ESPN he has decided to play his graduate season at Florida over offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Michigan, Ole Miss and USC.

Martin averaged 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game over three seasons as a starter, and he served as a key member of the Owls’ 2023 Final Four run, during which he was FAU’s most effective player in multiple NCAA Tournament games. His shooting averages dipped a bit this past season, though Martin has shot 36.9% from beyond the arc in his career.

Among the reasons Martin, a four-star transfer ranked No. 107 by 247Sports, chose the Gators for his final collegiate season?

“I wanted to stay in the South and play in the SEC, the strongest conference in America,” he told ESPN. “I wanted a chance to be a primary ball handler and compete for a national title at a program known for NBA talent and developing players for the next level.”

The departure of Zyon Pullin has left a hole at point guard for Florida. Starting guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Will Richard both entering their names in the 2024 NBA Draft creates concerns that the Gators may need scoring help in the backcourt, though both have options to return and are expected to play next season at UF.

Whether Martin will actually serve as the starting floor general certainly remains to be seen. Should Clayton and Richard return, Martin would more likely fill the role played by Riley Kugal, Florida’s lone exiting player via the transfer portal.

Chattanooga forward Sam Alexis and four-star Washington State center Rueben Chinyelu join Martin as members of the Gators’ incoming transfer class. As with any transfers, how well the trio acclimate to a new university and program is unknown. However, Golden’s track record with transfers — particularly last season — has been immense.

While not direct replacements, Chinyelu and Alexis will be part of the effort to make up for the loss of Tyrese Samuel, a high-level starter for the Gators who, like Pullin, ran out of eligibility after the 2023-24 season. Starting center Micah Handlogten, who will be a junior next season, is expected to be iffy to start the season after suffering a significant leg injury during the 2024 SEC Tournament. Chinyelu and Alexis will also fill in for him to start the campaign.

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