Todd Golden has landed his first high school commitment as the Florida Gators’ head basketball coach in Riley Kugel. And at least for some fans, it’s going to be hard to top in terms of satisfaction.
Kugel, a four star shooting guard from Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, chose Florida over rivals Georgia and LSU. He also had offers from fellow basketball powerhouses Auburn and Houston, among others. He was also previously committed to Mississippi State.
LSU (now led by Matt McMahon) and Georgia (now led by former Florida coach Mike White) made late pushes for Kugel, but Golden and his new staff (specifically assistant Korey McCray) made him feel highly desired, and were able to hold off the challengers.
Florida had also imported previously imported one of Kugel’s Dr. Phillips teammates in Denzel Aberdeen, who signed in late 2021.
The upside for Riley Kugel is high, as you can see on his tape, but he might have more of a challenge to play as a freshman than he will down the road. He’s lengthy (6’4) and fast with pretty technique on his jumper, but he could probably stand to bulk up a little bit before he’s truly ready for the warfare of SEC basketball. An offseason in the weight room could help, and he probably gives Florida enough of a taste of the raw explosiveness they’re going to want to feature under Golden to merit him some playing time. But at least as of now, consider him more as a safe young depth piece and someone who can contribute more down the road.
Kugel is the fifth new addition to the Gators’ basketball roster under Golden, and the first four were transfers: point guard Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure), point guard Trey Bonham (Virginia Military), small forward Alex Fudge (LSU) and guard Will Richard (Belmont). The addition of Kugel bumps Florida into the top 50 of the 247 composite rankings.