Florida’s Walter Clayton Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft

Florida’s Walter Clayton Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft

Florida star guard Walter Clayton Jr. announced Monday that he’s returning to school and officially withdrawing from the 2024 NBA Draft. UF’s Will Richard made the same decision a few days earlier.

Therefore, Todd Golden’s third team at UF will have two returning starters from a team that a lost a 102-100 decision vs. Colorado in the 2024 NCAA Tournament.

Clayton started all 36 games for the Gators, who finished the year with a 24-12 straight-up record and a 16-19-1 against-the-spread mark. The Iona transfer averaged 17.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He hit 36.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 87.7 percent of his free throws.

Clayton scored 33 points in the gut-wrenching setback against the Buffaloes. In fact, he went on a personal 10-3 run and tied the game at 100-100 on a deep trey with 11 seconds remaining.

Clayton scored in double figures in 33 of 36 games, including a 28-point effort in an 86-71 win over Pittsburgh.

Richard started 35 of 36 games for UF, averaging 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.9 SPG. He had 16 points, three assists and two rebounds in the loss to CU.

Clayton and Richard join a returning cast that includes Alex Condon, Thomas Haugh, Denzel Aberdeen and Kajus Kublickas. Golden has added three transfers in Sam Alexis, Rueben Chinyelu and Alijah Martin.

Center Micah Handlogten is going to redshirt after sustaining a broken leg in UF’s loss vs. Auburn in the SEC Tournament finals. The Gators have one incoming freshman in Isaiah Brown, a four-star prospect.

Florida has two remaining scholarships to use as Golden wishes. UF’s odds to win the 2025 NCAA Tournament are 55/1 at FanDuel.