An already deep Florida backcourt for the 2021-22 season just got even deeper.
With the emphasis of the Gators offseason being to rebuild an adequate roster following the possible departure of a possible seven athletes and three starters (with Colin Catsleton's status still up in the air), Florida has been uber-active in the transfer portal. Adding the likes of Myreon Jones, Brandon McKissic and CJ Felder already, the search for further additions to add depth to a bare roster was sure to be on the way.
On Monday afternoon, Florida received news that they would be securing the third guard prospect from the portal to the roster for next season, with Phlandrous Fleming Jr. announcing his intentions to head to Gainesville to join Tyree Appleby, Kowacie Reeves, McKissic and Jones in the backcourt rotation.
Starting in 86 of 101 games at Charleston Southern from 2017 to 2021, Fleming has been a consistent piece in the Buccaneers gameplan since his arrival. Recording 31.5 minutes per contest, Fleming posted a well-rounded 15 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game throughout his career.
In 2020-21, Fleming would see his numbers take an impressive jump beyond his career averages, totaling 20.1 points — shooting 39.5 percent from the field and 32 percent from beyond the arc — 7.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game to lead a poor Buccaneers squad.
Despite his successes, Fleming — similar to Appleby — struggled to maintain control of the basketball, responsible for near three turnovers per contest, an issue that could bode poorly for the Gators at points.
Standing at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Fleming has won the Big South Defensive Player of the Year award twice in his four seasons at Charleston Southern and provides the characteristic length and athleticism of White-coached guards. As a result, the Athens (Ga.) prospect provides the Gators with a dynamic two-way player that operates with high efficiency on both ends of the court.
Overall, the offseason thus far should be considered a major victory for Mike White and his staff, given the predicament the team looked to be in following the 2020-21 seasons ending. Retooling with talented pieces, Florida has seemingly replaced the voids left by Tre Mann and Noah Locke on the offensive end, at least from a production standpoint, and have improved defensively in the process.
Going forward, it is unlikely that Florida will be done plucking talent from the portal, given the number of spots they have yet to fill. However, the backcourt looks to be solidified with the addition of Fleming, allowing the Gators to set their sights on the four (and possibly five) spot(s) from here on out.