Sometimes in life, disappointment can be a blessing.
Florida basketball was a disappointment in 2019-20. There is no other way to say it. However, could the downfalls of 2019-20 be what makes 2020-21 special?
Freshman Scottie Lewis and forward Keyontae Johnson have both announced their decision to forego the 2020 NBA Draft and stay in school for another year. With two of coach Mike White's best players back in the fold, UF can reload next season, rather than rebuild.
If the season had gone according to plan, which would've meant a season living up to the hype of a preseason-No. 6 ranking, that probably would have meant that Johnson and Lewis had very different seasons from what they actually had.
That probably would have meant Lewis was the complete phenom and lottery pick he was hyped up to be. Johnson most likely dominated nearly every game the way he dominated only some.
And above all else, it would have meant a declaration for the NBA Draft after the season. But now, Florida gets them back. The Gators get back two guys with incredibly high ceilings that could develop into absolute game-changers every single night UF takes the floor.
Lewis' potential is about as high as his bounce.
However, he does need to develop offensively. Often times this year, he would seemingly get ahead of himself with the ball in his hands. He is so quick-twitched, and so explosive, that it is too fast for his ball-handling and decision making. He also struggled to shoot this season, only going 44 percent from the floor.
But on defense, he can look like Lebron James.
His shortcomings on offense are all fixable things. White and his staff can catch those things up. Once that happens, no college player will successfully guard Lewis. He is simply too athletic.
As for Johnson, the ball handling, decision making, and shooting are all already there.
For him, it is about consistency. There was a five-game stretch this season where his scoring went like this:
South Carolina (Jan. 7): 19 points
Missouri (Jan. 11): Five points
Ole Miss (Jan. 14): 15 points
Auburn (Jan. 18): Five points
LSU (Jan. 21): 16 points
His bad nights need to be 10-point nights instead of five-point nights. He is simply too good to not be a significant factor in every single game. That consistency came later in the season in games like Arkansas.
While only hitting four shots from the field, he found a way to get involved: drawing contact. Even though he wasn't shooting particularly well, shooting just 1 for 3 from beyond the arc, he remained aggressive. He got to the free-throw line 17 times, draining 15 of them.
Then, of course, you have nights where he does things like this.
Then, you combine Johnson and Lewis and you get things like this.
Gator fans should have more of this to look forward to next season. With Johnson more aggressive at all times, and Lewis finding his way offensively, there is no reason that these two can't be catalysts for a season that avenges 2019-20.
With how disappointing the 19-12 (11-7 SEC) Gators were, returning guys like these two should come back inspired. They should come back motivated to change the recent narrative of the program being overrated.