So far, four Florida Gators from the 2020-21 men’s basketball team have announced intentions to transfer prior to the 2021-22 season: Guards Ques Glover and Noah Locke, and big men Osayi Osifo and Omar Payne.
As of April 7, the two bigs had found new homes.
Payne was the first to announce his, back on April 3: He’s headed to Illinois.
Payne would seem likely to be a reserve for the Illini, with the fantastic Kofi Cockburn still deciding on whether he will return for a junior season and backup Giorgi Bezhanishvili set to slide into the starting center role should Cockburn depart. Given that Payne’s transfer was reportedly tied to a desire to start at center at Florida, transferring to a situation where he would seem to have only a remote chance of starting is odd.
But Illinois has been on the rise nationally in the last few years, earning a No. 1 seed under Brad Underwood in the 2021 NCAA Tournament thanks in part to Cockburn and Ayo Dosunmu forming one of America’s best inside-outside tandems. It’s hard to blame Payne if he’s hoping to be part of that success going forward.
Osifo, the other Gator who has announced his transfer destination, is not going to a program with a recent history of success — but he is following a coach he knows well, transferring to Jacksonville, which hired Florida assistant Jordan Mincy in March.
Osifo made his announcement on the night of April 6.
Osifo’s physicality and motor would seem to be a fine fit for the Dolphins, who were outside the nation’s top 250 in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage in 2020-21, per KenPom. He’ll also join a strong frontcourt that could return forwards Bryce Workman and Dontarius James.
Florida’s other two transfers, Glover and Locke. took only slightly longer to find landing spots in the massive wave of transfers.
Locke’s elite shooting ability garnered him a ton of attention up and down the high-major spectrum, and Adam Zagoria reported last week that Locke had Zoom calls scheduled with a handful of programs. Ultimately, he would commit to Louisville on April 10, joining a team that got precious little scoring from behind the arc in 2020-21 — but one that, with point guard seen as likely to return to school after exploring the NBA Draft process, might not have many minutes to allocate to Locke as a ballhandler.
Glover, meanwhile, was linked with East Tennessee State before announcing on April 14 that he had committed to Samford. The Bulldogs play at a level — the not-so-great Southern Conference — and at a pace (blink-and-someone-scores) that could actually be well-suited to Glover’s speed and quickness, and after winning just one game after New Year’s Day, the program can use all the help it can get.