The Florida Gators on Thursday landed their third transfer in the last six months, adding South Florida Bulls center John Egbunu to a stacked roster.
Egbunu’s decision was first reported by CBSSports.com‘s Jeff Borzello.
A four-star prospect and the No. 83 overall player in the Class of 2013, Egbunu (6-foot-10, 245 pounds), joins the Gators this summer but will be unable to play at Florida until the 2015-16 season when he will be listed as a redshirt sophomore after sitting out the 2014-15 campaign due to NCAA transfer rules.
He will have three years of collegiate eligibility remaining when he suits up for UF.
Egbunu made 31 starts in 32 games for the Bulls, setting a school record for rebounds by a freshman (198) while averaging 7.4 points, 6.2 boards and 1.3 blocks per contest.
He is one of five South Florida players that transferred after the school fired head coach Stan Health, choosing Florida over Michigan State, Georgetown and Virginia Tech.
Egbunu, a native of Bauchi, Nigeria, had his eligibility reviewed by the NCAA during the 2013-14 season but did not miss any games.
He joins forwards Jon Horford (Michigan) and Alex Murphy (Duke) as transfers the Gators have accepted over the last six months. Horford, a graduate student, will be eligible to play at the start of the 2014-15 season, though Murphy (who is seeking a waiver) is currently not cleared to play until December after transferring mid-season.
Egbunu is an important addition for Florida, which will lose expected starting center Chris Walker to the NBA after his sophomore season. Walker has repeatedly noted that he will be playing “one more year” for the Gators and has his sights set on being a professional. A source close to the player has confirmed as much to OnlyGators.com on multiple occasions since he decided to return for his sophomore campaign.
Bringing in Egbunu gives Florida 14 scholarship players for the 2014-15 season, one more than is allowed by NCAA rules. Some form of attrition is likely to occur, though no decision has been announced by the Gators as of press time.
Candidates to depart Florida and subsequently free up Egbunu’s scholarship include redshirt senior C Damontre Harris, redshirt junior guard Eli Carter and redshirt sophomore G Dillon Graham.
Harris was dismissed from the team in December 2013 only to be reinstated by head coach Billy Donovan over two weeks later after recommitting himself to the program. A source close to the team told OnlyGators.com that Harris was giving tremendous effort in practice over the remainder of the campaign but indicated that he may have begun to slip again since the conclusion of the season.
Carter tried to play in 2013-14 but was unable to remain on the court as weak muscles around his healed broken leg began causing problems in his lower extremities. His health status remains in question entering 2014-15.
Graham struggled at the start of his sophomore year and was eventually sidelined for the duration of the season after undergoing surgery to relieve pain from bone spurs in his hips. While some have questioned Graham’s talent and ability to play for the Gators, a source close to the player insisted two weeks ago to OnlyGators.com that Graham does not plan to transfer and will remain at Florida long-term. In fact, Graham is far ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation.