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Florida lands commitment from UMKC transfer Brandon McKissic

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The Gators begin their substantial rebuilding project with one of the best transfers available.

NCAA Basketball: UMKC at Kansas Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

With Thursday’s announcement that Scottie Lewis would head to the professional ranks instead of continuing his career at Florida, the size of the rebuild facing Gators coach Mike White became almost entirely clear.

By noon on Friday, White had also secured one of the biggest pieces possible for that project, as Missouri-Kansas City guard Brandon McKissic announced his commitment to transfer to Florida via tweet.

McKissic and Florida had been linked for several days, with McKissic citing White’s personal pursuit of the talented scorer in comments to Eric Bossi of 247Sports. He chose the Gators over a field of five other finalists that included Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Oregon State, and Saint Louis.

And Florida is getting a hooper as a result.

McKissic was the Summit League’s Defensive Player of the Year thanks in part to a penchant for poking out steals — he averaged 1.5 as a senior for the Roos, securing multiple ones in 11 of his outings in 2020-21, and his Steal Rate of 2.8% ranked in the top 250 players nationally, per KenPom — but he was also the Roos’ top scorer and assist man, pouring in 17.2 points and dishing 3.3 assists per game.

And he got those points efficiently, too: He shot 54.7 percent on twos and a scalding 43 percent on threes, allowing him to rank in the nation’s top 250 in True Shooting Percentage despite also being in the top 100 in usage. (McKissic was far better still on wide-open threes, per Eric Fawcett.)

McKissic was also incredibly consistent for UMKC as an upperclassman, scoring in double figures in all but his first game of 2020-21 and scoring six or more points in all but two of his games in 2019-20. That quality might be especially important to Florida given who he projects to replace — transferring guard Noah Locke as the Gators’ starting shooting guard, and Lewis as an ace wing defender — on the roster, and their oft-lamented streakiness.

The Roos didn’t make the NCAA Tournament in McKissic’s four years in Kansas City, and his 1-for-6 performance from three in a four-point loss to North Dakota State in this year’s Summit League Tournament was certainly part of the reason this year.

But now, with just one unexpected year of collegiate eligibility to go, he’s joining a Florida program that has made the last four staged and won a game in each — and he’ll be counted on to help lead the Gators back to that level, or beyond.