Florida center Jason Jitoboh planning to enter the transfer portal

On3 imageby:Zach Abolverdi03/20/23


GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Following four seasons at the University of Florida, center Jason Jitoboh has decided to play elsewhere in 2023-24 for his extra COVID year. Jitoboh will be the third player from the Gators men’s hoops team to enter the portal.

The news was first reported Monday by national basketball analyst Travis Branham of 247Sports. Jitoboh joins guard Niels Lane and wing Kowacie Reeves as outing transfers after all three played in mostly reserve roles during the 2022-23 season.

However, Jitoboh set single-season career highs in game appearances (32), starts (7) and average minutes played (11.5). He averaged 3.1 points and 1.5 rebounds, both down from his numbers a year ago (4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds).

Jitoboh made four starts for Colin Castleton in 2021-22 until his season-ending eye injury at Tennessee. He spent several months rehabbing before his return. When Castleton broke his hand on Feb. 15, Jitoboh started in his place again.

“It was a lot of nights I thought I would never play basketball again,” Jitoboh tweeted on the one-year anniversary of his injury. “Although it was a long road to recovery, I’m happy to be able to be back on the court doing what I love.”

Jitoboh didn’t have his full vision back this season but still played, stepping up down the stretch when the Gators needed him most. After Castleton’s broken hand, Jitoboh averaged 5.7 points and 20.2 minutes in the final seven games.

“Jason I think is a great story of resilience with all the injuries and eye trouble he dealt with last year,” Florida coach Todd Golden said. “We knew coming into the program that it was going to be tough to get him through a full season; he really hadn’t done it before and it really hadn’t been close. Now we’re getting to our 31st game and he’s been healthy for every one. Just proud of him.”

Todd Golden on his offseason approach

Following Florida’s loss to UCF in the NIT, Golden reflected on his first year with the Gators and discussed how he wants to attack the offseason with his staff.

“It’s been a long year,” Golden said after the Gators’ last game. “After playing in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, the day after that we finalized this opportunity (with Florida) and I feel like we haven’t stopped since then. So, getting 24-48 hours to just kind of take a deep breath and gather ourselves and then kind of evaluate our processes, see what worked this year, what didn’t.

“The roster is going to be important. We’ll kind of take a look at everybody that’s available and out there and evaluate and jump on the ones that we think can help us win and continue to build the program. Obviously a really tough way to end the year, but I think some good foundational things were laid and we had some really good efforts this year that we can build as we move forward.”

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