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Louisiana Tech transfer Anthony Duruji commits to Florida

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Mike White’s program adds a talented tweener forward to its future foundation.

NCAA Basketball: Louisiana Tech at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Mike White’s Florida Gators may be in the midst of a roster overhaul at the moment, but the pieces White is putting together for Florida’s future continue to impress.

The latest such stone to be put in place for the Gators came on Monday, as Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that Louisiana Tech sophomore wing Anthony Duruji will transfer to Florida.

Duruji followed Goodman’s report with a tweet of his own later in the afternoon.

Goodman’s tweet refers to Duruji as a forward, and he played mostly at a power forward role for the Bulldogs, but he might better profile as a tweener who alternates between big wing and slightly undersized forward for Florida, depending on the Gators’ interior personnel. At 6’7” and a sturdy 215 pounds, Duruji would at least take some of the load of defending forwards off of wing Keyontae Johnson, who often found himself guarding big men backing down late this season as a result of Florida’s shallow frontcourt.

But Duruji was also an efficient scorer (54 percent on twos, 33 percent on 115 threes, 68 percent from the line) and rebounder (18.2 percent defensive rebounding rate) for Tech, and posted a higher block rate (4.8 percent) than any Gator other than Kevarrius Hayes and Dontay Bassett despite being somewhat undersized for the frontcourt.

Duruji only topped 20 points four times in his career in Ruston, but he was also a reliable performer, starting in all 31 games for the Bulldogs in 2018-19 and finishing with fewer than five points in only one of them — a season-opening win over Wichita State in which he struggled mightily (three points, five turnovers, three fouls). And in a non-conference matchup with eventual SEC champion and Sweet Sixteen participant LSU in Baton Rouge, Duruji posted 22 points and nine rebounds.

And as Duruji’s pinned tweet makes clear, he does not lack for leaping ability.

And all that combined to make Duruji one of the better players available on the 2019 transfer market — even if he, as a sophomore with two years of experience under his belt, will have to sit out a year before seeing the floor for the Gators.

(Amusingly, Duruji is also just the latest in a recent number of personnel moves between Louisiana Tech and Florida: White obviously came to Florida from Ruston long before Duruji considered that, bringing along his entire coaching staff and, later, Louisiana Tech commit Justin Leon, while Louisiana Tech’s football program was buoyed for a year by graduate transfer Jeff Driskel.)

Duruji’s commitment to Florida should bring the Gators’ scholarship outlay for 2019-20 to 12 of the 13 that is the NCAA-permitted maximum. Florida is still likely on the hunt for an immediately-eligible big man to add to its six-person 2019 recruiting class, its mere five expected returnees (counting point guard Andrew Nembhard, who is currently in the NBA Draft process but widely expected to return to Florida), and Duruji.