Coach Mike White and Florida fans got to witness early fireworks set off Sunday. Florida center Colin Castleton announced via Twitter that he will withdraw from the NBA draft and return to the Gators for his senior season.
“The past few months have been really productive as I’ve participated in the NBA draft process and worked out for NBA teams,” Castleton wrote in his announcement. “It’ll be an experience that will help me as I continue growing as a player and a person. I’m excited to announce I’ll be back at the University of Florida next season to continue competing with my teammates and working toward my degree. I love being a Gator and representing the Orange and Blue.”
Castleton led Florida in rebounding last season with 6.4 per game. He also finished second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.4 points per game. The former Michigan big man led Florida in blocks, too, with 2.3 per game.
It was rumored and expected from many Florida media outlets that Castleton was just testing the NBA waters and was just looking for feedback on where he could improve. He entered his name into the NBA draft and hired an NCAA-certified agent to retain his eligibility.
Florida basketball players and the coaching staff are familiar with this move because former point guard Tre Mann did the same thing last offseason. It obviously paid large dividends for Mann because he turned into a borderline first-round pick in this year’s NBA draft.
White and his staff will still undergo a major rebuild this season. The program saw six players leave campus with Mann and forward Scottie Lewis declaring for the draft. However, he supplemented those holes with additions from the NCAA transfer portal.
Florida hopes with these additions along with its top recruit in guard Kowacie Reeves that they’ll help make UF more competitive in the SEC. The Gators have failed to finish higher than fifth in the last three seasons.