Gators stay hot in portal, add Alijah Martin

Gators stay hot in portal, add Alijah Martin

Todd Golden continues to get it done in the transfer portal. Three days after scoring a commitment from four-star transfer center Rueben Chinyelu, Florida added ex-FAU guard Alijah Martin on Sunday morning.

In four seasons with the Owls, Martin started 86 of 124 career games. He’s averaged at least 13.1 points per game for three straight years.

As a true sophomore in 2021-22, Martin started all 33 games for FAU, averaging 13.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 1.4 assists per game. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder drained 40.0 percent of his 3-pointers and 45.8 percent of his field-goal attempts.

In 2022-23 when Dusty May’s FAU squad went to the Final Four, Martin averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.0 SPG. He hit 37.2 percent of his treys and 78.8 percent of his free throws.

In FAU’s 79-76 win over Kansas St. in the Elite Eight, Martin produced 17 points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a pair of blocked shot. He also made 6-of-11 FGAs, 3-of-7 launches from downtown and 2-of-2 free throws.

When the Owls lost 72-71 to San Diego St. on a buzzer beater at the Final Four, Martin finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and one steal. He buried 7-of-13 FGAs, 3-of-7 triples and 9-of-10 from the FT line.

Florida struggled mightily to get stops this past season, and Martin will help a lot in that department. The four-star transfer is an elite defender.

The addition of Chinyelu will also bolster Florida’s defense. The 6-foot-11, 245-pound Chinyelu spent his true freshman campaign at Washington St., starting 12 of 35 games for a team that made it into the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Chinyelu played an average of only 13.9 minutes per game, contributing 4.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocked shots per game. He made 61.7 percent of his FGAs but only 48.9 percent of his free throws.

In the Cougars’ 66-61 win over Drake in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Chinyelu played nine minutes and finished with two points, four rebounds and one blocked shot. In a 67-56 second-round loss to Iowa St., he logged 10 minutes of playing time and contributed three points, four boards, two blocks and one assist.

UF’s Walter Clayton Jr. and Will Richard are testing the NBA waters while maintaining their eligibility, but both players are expected to return to school. Assuming they do, the Gators have three roster spots remaining for scholarship players.

Martin is the third transfer added to the 2024-25 roster. UF got a commitment from Sam Alexis last week.

The Gators also got their first commitment for the 2025 class this past week from Alex Lloyd, a four-star wing from Ft. Lauderdale Westminster Academy. The 6-foot-4 Lloyd is ranked the #46 prospect nationally in the 2025 class.

Golden and his staff need to add a point guard now. Whether or not UF is on ex-Saint Mary’s PG Aidan Mahaney’s radar right now is unclear.

According to a post on his Instagram account, Mahaney is on an official visit to Creighton today. He’s reportedly heard from programs like Duke, UConn, Florida, USC, Virginia, Colorado, St. John’s, Arkansas, Xavier, Ole Miss, Michigan, Alabama, Villanova, California and Kentucky.

As a true freshman for the Gaels in 2022-23, Mahaney started 26 of 35 games. He averaged 13.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 steals per game. He made 40.0 percent of his 3-pointers and 71.8 percent of his free throws.

In 2023-24, Mahaney started all 35 games for Saint Mary’s, averaging 13.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 APG. He knocked down 35.5 percent his treys and 81.3 percent of his free throws.

Golden played at Saint Mary’s for Randy Bennett, who just finished his 23rd season in Moraga, from 2004-2008.