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BASKETBALL

Starting guards Walter Clayton Jr., Will Richard returning to Florida basketball

Kevin Brockway
Gainesville Sun

Florida basketball starting guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Will Richard have withdrawn their names from the NBA Draft and will return to UF in 2024-25.

A transfer from Iona and former Bartow High standout, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Clayton started all 36 games for the Florida Gators last season and emerged as one of the top scorers in the SEC. Clayton finished 2023-24 tied for sixth in the SEC in scoring at 17.6 points per game, including a 33-point performance against Colorado in the Round of 64 in the 2024 NCAA Tournament. He shot 43.2 percent from the field, 36.5 percent from 3-point range and made a team-high 93 3-pointers. earning both All-SEC and All-SEC tournament team honors.

Clayton scored 20 or more points in 15 games last season and his 633 points last season ranked as the No. 5 single-season tally in program history.

Clayton signaled his return with this post on Instagram on Monday.

Florida basketball guard Will Richard also is returning

Richard also announced over the weekend on social media that he was coming back to UF.

The 6-foot-4, 206-pound Richard started 35 of 36 games for UF last season, averaging 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds. He made a career-high 70 3-pointers last season while shooting 41.1 percent from the field and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Richard posted six 20-point outings last season, including a pair of 23-point games in UFֱs home wins against No. 16 Alabama and Mississippi State. He's totaled 1,143 points in three collegiate seasons, including 744 over the course of his two seasons at Florida

With Clayton and Richard in the fold, Florida has three starters back from a team that finished 24-12 last season, though center Micah Handlogten will likely redshirt in 2024-25 after suffering a compound fracture of his lower left leg last March.

Florida was active in the transfer portal with the additions of guard Alijah Martin (FAU) forward Sam Alexis (Chattanooga) and forward Rueben Chinyelu (Washington State). Rising sophomore Alex Condon and Thomas Haugh also will be back, along with rising junior guard Denzel Aberdeen and rising sophomore guard Kajus Kublickas.