Injured Florida C Egbunu to 'test the waters' of NBA draft
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida coach Mike White might be facing a bigger rebuilding project than initially expected.
White said Tuesday that injured center John Egbunu plans to ''test the waters'' of the NBA draft. Egbunu doesn't intend to hire an agent, meaning he could end up returning to school for his final year of eligibility.
A fourth-year junior on track to graduate this semester, Egbunu missed the final 10 games of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in mid-February. The 6-foot-11 Egbunu averaged 7.8 points and a team-leading 6.6 rebounds.
''John hasn't made a decision yet, but I think he'll probably test the waters and see what type of feedback he gets,'' White said. ''I don't want to speak for John. I'll let him have his turn doing that.
''But I think ultimately that's probably what he ends up doing and we'll support him as best as we can support him. We want the best for John. If John wants to really, really come back, we'll welcome him with open arms.''
Egbunu had surgery March 6, but still has months of rehabilitation ahead before he could work out for NBA teams.
''I think it makes for a really tough process for him,'' White said. ''I feel for him. He's in a tough spot where I don't know how much thorough feedback he's going to get. He can't go try out. He can't travel. He can't do individual workouts. He can't do a vertical jump test, you know? And he'd actually grade out really well in all those areas.''
The Gators already were prepared to replace point guard Kasey Hill, Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year Canyon Barry and versatile forward Justin Leon, seniors who helped Florida reach an NCAA Tournament regional final in White's second season. The Gators lost to South Carolina at Madison Square Garden.
Now, White also might have to replace Egbunu and forward Devin Robinson.
White said he would be ''somewhat surprised'' if Robinson returns for his senior year, no huge revelation since NBA scouts have closely followed Robinson all season. The 6-foot-8 Robinson averaged 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds as a junior, making big strides in shooting, rebounding and defense.
Robinson tested leaving for the NBA draft in 2016, but ended up returning to Florida.
''Devin, with this being his second go-around pursuing this thing, I think that it may be difficult for him to not follow through this year,'' White said.
''But we'll find out soon enough. And of course we want for Devin what Devin wants for Devin. And we're going to support him anyway we can. Obviously a big recruiting coup this spring would be if Devin re-committed to being a Gator.''
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