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Florida’s Osayi Osifo enters transfer portal

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The big man will head elsewhere to continue his basketball career.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Virginia Tech at Florida Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators junior forward Osayi Osifo has entered the transfer portal with the intent to finish his basketball career elsewhere, he announced on Friday.

Osifo played sparingly in 20 games for Florida in 2020-21, being thrust into a reserve forward role by Keyontae Johnson’s collapse and subsequent absence and by inconsistency from Scottie Lewis and Anthony Duruji. He scored 1.9 points and grabbed 2.6 rebounds per game this season, but also committed as many personal fouls (38) as he scored points.

What he provided in terms of energy, defense, and rebounding — Osifo was first on the team in offensive rebounding rate — was often countervailed by his extremely limited offense, which left him scoring almost exclusively on putbacks, and his inability to defend without fouling, which translated to a sky-high 7.6 fouls committed per 40 minutes.

Osifo, originally from South Africa, came to Florida from junior-college power Eastern Florida State College with a rep as a raw player with similar problems defending without fouling, but he was likely to be used in a far smaller role in 2020-21 before Johnson’s abrupt departure from Florida’s plans. While he will possibly be best remembered for being the target of an intentional foul during the Oral Roberts comeback to beat Florida in the 2021 NCAA Tournament — Osifo missed the front end of a one-and-one generated by the foul, and was subbed out after the play — the core truth of his stint with the Gators was that he was pressed into a role too large for him too soon, arguably revealing him to be too raw for high-major basketball before he had a chance to develop.

Osifo’s decision to transfer is the third by a Gator this week, following those of Noah Locke and Ques Glover, and the fourth decision to leave Gainesville overall, factoring in Tre Mann’s decision to enter the 2021 NBA Draft.