GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Guard Eric Hester is transferring from Florida after his freshman season, it was reported Wednesday.
Rivals.com first reported the news and SEC Country has confirmed it.
Hester averaged 2.2 points in 5.6 minutes over 20 games as a newcomer to the program. His highlight was a 16-point outburst at LSU on Jan. 25 as he went 5-for-5 from 3-point range, but that would be his only double-digit scoring effort as his opportunities were limited.
Hester appeared in only two of Florida final’s nine games, seeing 3 minutes in a loss at Kentucky and 2 minutes in the Gators’ blowout win over Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
— Landon Watnick (@LandonWatnick) April 12, 2017
Don't be surprised if L'ville shows interest in Hester on transfer market. Cards recruited him. Former HS coach Jordan Fair on L'ville staff
— Kevin Brockway (@gatorhoops) April 12, 2017
The Gators were deep in the backcourt with veteran point guard Kasey Hill and Chris Chiozza dominating the minutes at that spot, KeVaughn Allen locked into a heavy workload at shooting guard and Canyon Barry the top option off the bench.
With Hill and Barry gone, though, there figured to be more opportunity awaiting Hester in 2017-18. Chiozza takes over as the primary point guard and guard Jalen Hudson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, joins the backcourt as well, but it would stand to reason there would be an opportunity for Hester to see a bigger role spelling Chiozza at the point. Unless the coaching staff had other plans.
It was also reported Wednesday that 6-foot-3 point guard Michael Okauru, from Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, signed his national letter of intent to join the Gators.
— Jason Smith (@BrewsterHoops) April 12, 2017
Hester was the first high school recruit to commit to Florida under coach Mike White, and he came in with his Oldsmar Christian School teammate Dontay Bassett, a forward who sat out the season due to injury.
Oldsmar Christian coach John Bianchi, who was the assistant coach when Hester played at the school, said he was surprised by the news when reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.
“I just found out recently, to be honest. I’m not sure all the details,” he said.
Bianchi said he had not previously heard from Hester about the possibility of transferring after the season.
“That’s why it’s a surprise,” he said.