Florida basketball adds Iona G Walter Clayton Jr., Marshall C Micah Handlogten out of transfer portal

By OnlyGators.com Staff
April 11, 2023
Florida basketball adds Iona G Walter Clayton Jr., Marshall C Micah Handlogten out of transfer portal

The prime focus of head coach Todd Golden entering his second season has been almost completely rebuilding the Florida Gators’ roster following a significant rash of departures due to graduation and transfer. His efforts have been rewarded twice already this week with Iona guard Walter Clayton Jr. and Marshall center Micah Handlogten committing to join the Gators.

Clayton, who has two years of eligibility remaining, was deciding between following his former head coach Rick Pitino to St. John’s or joining Florida. By choosing the latter and linking up with the Gators, the Lake Wales, Florida, native — regraded as a four-star prospect and ranked No. 46 overall in the 247Sports transfer rankings — gets to return to the Sunshine State with what’s been referred to as his “dream school.”

Clayton (6-foot-2, 195 pounds), a unanimous All-MAAC first-team selection, averaged 16.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.8 steals in his second season with the Gaels, starting 31 of the 32 games in which he played. Hitting 45.5% of his shots, 43.1% of his 3-pointers (51st nationally) and 95.3% of his free throws (second nationally), he was widely considered one of the top backcourt players available in the transfer portal. Clayton should be a terrific addition alongside freshman Riley Kugel and sophomore Will Richard.

“Walter Clayton is a proven winner and someone who will immediately raise the bar within our program,” Golden said in an announcement. “He has a great attitude and mentality that will certainly be contagious for all. He grew up with Florida being his dream school, and now he gets to come home and wear the Orange and Blue in the O’Dome. I am excited to see what he is able to achieve as a Gator.”

Handlogten (7-foot-1, 227 pounds) joins the Gators as one of the largest players in program history, choosing Florida over Auburn and NC State. He averaged 7.6 pounds, 9.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while starting all 32 games for the Thundering Herd, a season-long performance that earned him Sun Belt Freshman of the Year honors.

Listed as the No. 17 overall player in the 247Sports transfer rankings, Handlogten has also been regraded as a four-star prospect. He has three years of eligibility remaining.

“We are thrilled that Micah has decided to join our program here at the University of Florida,” Golden said. “Micah had a great freshman year at Marshall, and we believe he is just starting to scratch the surface in terms of his upside. He’s a proven rim protector, rebounder, and rim finisher and we believe he has the capacity to expand his game – specifically on the offensive end.  He’s a great young man from a great family and is a great match for the culture we are continuing to build within our program.”

The commitments from Clayton and Handlogten continue a string of positive news for the Gators, which last week retained Kugel after his breakout campaign and added Yale forward EJ Jarvis out of the portal.

Florida, which once had eight of 13 scholarships open following those aforementioned offseason departures, now have five remaining as Golden continues to wade through the portal for quality additions.

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