Another highly-regarded player in the transfer portal has opted to spend the remainder of their college career at the University of Florida.
CJ Felder, a sophomore forward who averaged 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds at Boston College this past season, just went public with his commitment to the Gators. He initially planned to reveal his decision on Saturday but simply found no reason to wait any longer, resulting in tonight’s pledge.
Grad-transfer Brandon McKissic, who previously starred at UKMC, teamed up with the SEC program on Friday as well, providing Mike White’s staff with two major additions for the 2021-22 season.
A product of Sumter, South Carolina, the 6-foot-7, 230-pound Felder started 17 games this season and another 18 in 2019-20. In addition to his 9.7 points and 5.9 rebounds this past season, which were both career highs, Felder averaged 2.2 blocks as well.
With Colin Castleton testing the NBA waters and Omar Payne and Osayi Osifo in the transfer portal, Felder sees opportunity to flourish in UF’s frontcourt and will have the opportunity to make a splash out the gate.
“Honestly, I think I’d describe my game as a versatile forward who can give you a little bit of everything at a high level while also being able to lock down the opposing team’s best player. I also want to say that I am still improving and haven’t come close to reaching my ceiling yet,” Felder told Rivals’ Jamie Shaw.
“I’ve heard many comparisons to my game, but I think the most common have been a Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard-type. Obviously, I am nowhere near the level those guys are currently at (I do plan to be there one day though), but I definitely see myself form that same mold of a tough player who gives a lot of everything while playing at a very high level on the defensive end.”
Texas A&M, Clemson and Murray State were the additional schools that made the strongest push for Felder, while the likes of Arkansas, LSU, Xavier, Georgia, South Carolina, UConn, Texas Tech, Virginia and Cincinnati made contact as well.
The Gators were also the second program to reach out once Felder entered the portal. Like with McKissic, Mike White played a pivotal role in UF’s pursuit and sealed the deal following multiple Zoom calls with his staff. Assisant Al Pinkins pushed all the right buttons over the past few weeks as well, but there were several additional boxes UF checked that led to Felder’s decision to relocate to Gainesville.
“It’s actually close to where I’m from because I’m from Sumter, South Carolina, so it’s definitely in driving distance, so that’s one,” Felder previously told GatorsTerritory. “Also, the weather, facilties, winning tradition they have there, as well as the amount of pros they have put into the NBA over the years. Those things are definitely appealing.”
“Their pitch to me is a chance to come in and make an immediate impact on their program and make it to the league one day,” Felder told Rivals on Friday afternoon.