Jon Horford transferring to Florida

Dylan Burkhardt

Kentucky 75, Michigan 72-4Former Michigan center Jon Horford will finish his collegiate career at Florida. The news was first reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.

Horford averaged 3.8 points and 4.2 rebounds for the Wolverines last season.

Horford had played a reserve role throughout his career, but could have played a significant role next season after the departures of Mitch McGary and Jordan Morgan.

Instead Michigan is expected to rely on redshirt junior Max Bielfeldt, redshirt freshman Mark Donnal and true freshman Ricky Doyle for minutes at the five position.

The 6-foot-10 big man is eligible to play for Florida immediately as he completes a graduate transfer. Horford’s brother, Al, previously starred at Florida and helped the Gators to two national championships. He transferred in search of an offense that will feature his back-to-the-basket abilities more prominently and Florida could be a decent fit. Just 2.7% of Michigan’s offensive possessions last season were post-ups compared to 10.8% of Florida’s, per Synergy Sports. (Photo: Dustin Johnston)

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  • Dustin Stone

    What a joke. Leaves for lack of playing time…Picks Florida. Im sorry, but good riddance! Those who stay will be champions!

    • ChocoJoe

      I don’t think he left for lack of playing time. It seems like he left for lack of post touches.

      • J

        Either way I don’t think he his getting significantly more of either

  • gpsimms

    At first, I thought the news he was looking at Florida was bizarre. Then, I checked their kenpom page, they are only returning one big, who last year played only 3.3% of his minutes at center. On their rivals page, it does not look like UF has much in the way of freshman bigs.

    I think Alex Murphy becomes eligible, but we all know he is terrible from his days playing with Stauskas/early exit from Duke. Plus, he’s more of a four.

    On top of all that, the SEC is basically a mid-major. so he has a better chance to do well against the competition (still a pretty low chance, IMO).

    Even with all this, I still think Horford is a nut for leaving what was at least 20 minutes a game on a B1G contender.

    • Indiana_Matt

      Good point on SEC being a mid-major. Amazing how far that conference has fallen.

      • rlcBlue

        Well, the lower reaches of the SEC are pretty bad, but they did send two teams to the Final Four this year; I can’t remember the last time a “mid-major” conference did that…

        • Indiana_Matt

          true… I was kind of joking. and Tennessee came on sort of strong at the end, in addition to the final four teams. but the league was definitely bad. in the old days Arkansas, Alabama and LSU were always pretty strong, had NBA talent and were in the top 25. not so much now.

  • AADave

    It may end up being a good move for him but I’m doubtful. If he couldn’t succeed here as the lone experienced front court player and coached by perhaps the best coach in the country, it will be hard to succeed elsewhere. But sometimes a change in scenery and coaching philosophy can do wonders.

    I wish him the best.

  • Mattski

    “Just 2.7% of Michigan’s offensive possessions last season were post-ups compared to 10.8% of Florida’s, per Synergy Sports.” Guess this just doesn’t speak to you guys? All the people who saw him at a MAC school or said the move was nutty have egg on their faces, the way I see it. Look for him to do well, like every other M player does coming out of our fine program, despite armchair QBs questioning everything from their heart to their talent.

    • Mith

      What do you want the stat to “speak” to everyone? That he’ll get some post touches? Sure, but that doesn’t change his talent level, does it? (Neither does going to Florida instead of a MAC school.) No one has egg on their faces…how does going to Florida prove any doubters wrong. Let’s see what happens on the court this year before declaring the “winner” of this debate.

      • Mattski

        With a ton of doubters saying he was destined for a MAC-level program he ended up with Billy Donovan on a team that made the final four, at a school where–if he’s on the floor–he could see a lot more touches. If my comment doesn’t implicate anyone here, cool. But there’s been a lot of negativity about a kid who worked hard for the team. Given the talent that Jon has shown in flashes, I find it plausible–as he argued–that if he’d received more PT and gotten more comfortable he might have flourished. And I don’t blame any kid for trying to maximize his potential. And if Beilein just wasn’t high on him, that would be a good reason to go try it elsewhere too, right?

        • Dave Pratt

          He worked hard for a team then decided to run his mouth as his left. He won’t be missed and was a huge problem towards the end of the year.

          If he sees a ton of post touches at Florida then I can’t wait to see Florida’s record at the end of the year.

          • Mattski

            Maybe you know something I don’t. I saw where someone alleged his trained bad-mouthed Beilein, so. . . unfortunate, if true.

          • Dave Pratt

            He also said today I’m going to a coaching staff that I believe in and who believes in me. That’s a direct shot at our coaching staff. People can keep defending him because he played 4 years for Michigan but he abandoned his teammates. Guy wouldn’t even be offered if he was coming out of high school today.

          • Mattski

            trainer. . .

        • Indiana_Matt

          I didn’t consider it a slam when I mentioned him possibly going to a MAC school. I am an alumni of a MAC school and there are always a couple decent squads in the conference. I felt he could be a true focal point on a MAC squad. Personally, I would think going to a school where you could average 15 and 10 and be the 1st or 2nd option on offense for your final season would be fun. Didn’t mean any disrespect.

    • gpsimms

      well, florida had young. i’ll have egg on my face when horford plays more than 50% of the available minutes AND posts an ORTNG within 20 points of his at Michigan AND posts a higher usage.

    • NA

      When did Horford prove to be a viable post-up option? I’m sure if he was Jared Sullinger or Zach Randolph (or even Nigel Hayes) he would’ve gotten plenty of touches and would’ve produced more open more 3’s. Beilein is not stupid.

      BTW, that’s like 5 extra post-ups per game… if you’re getting all of them.

  • Madrox

    Best of luck to Jon at Florida. If the motivation was playing time it seems like an odd choice to me, Florida seems to have a few big bodies already there. If he thinks he will get more work at Florida because they run more offense through the post, he is probably right and I hope he gets the chances.

    Jon seemed like a good guy, but I still believe that if he showed that much ability in practice Beilein would have found more ways to get him involved in the offense. Either way, the winter weather in Gainesville will be a lot nicer than Ann Arbor, so that’s a plus for him.

  • FL Wolve

    Is Horford really 6’11? That bodes well for Doyle who I believe BA said was already taller than Horford. I think Doyle is going to be the ultimate sleeper in this class and will have a very productive career at UM.

  • Cory

    I think he had his chance this year to really standout with McGary’s injury and was thoroughly outplayed by Morgan. Part of me feels like this is sour grapes more than anything. I hope he finds what he’s looking for.

  • Champswest

    Good luck Jon. I hope that you find the zen that you are looking for.

  • AC1997

    Uh….if he is 6’11” then I am going to eat a lemon. He is a solid 6’9″. I hope he finds what he and his family are looking for. Otherwise people will wonder why he passed on being the starting center for Michigan and playing 30mpg. It does seem like the best chance for him to chase his dream of being a star post player, but I think reality will set in quickly. I wish him well.

    Meanwhile, someone start getting Doyle, Donnal, Wilson, and Chatman some muscles while the genetics professors figure out how to make Bielfeldt 4-inches taller so his body type matches his skills. I still never figured out why Beilein went after him instead of a more conventional stretch four or true five.

  • jblair52

    I hope his parents approve of THIS decision.

  • Guest

    Ultimately, you want the kid to be in the situation where he’s most happy.

    But, I’d have to believe that, considering he had initially said he was coming back, either his family contacted Florida or vice-versa before he announced that he was going to leave the program. I don’t know if that constitutes tampering.

    Again, I’m of the opinion that what’s important is that the kid should be able to pick the best learning environment for them. But, I’d have to think this is how it all went down.

    • Guest

      That should read “contacted Florida to see if they had a spot for him”

  • Chezaroo

    Wish the young man all the best. The reality ( as I see it ) is that he is to slow to recover on high ball screens on D, and way to slow to set ball screens and be a viable factor rolling to the basket. Translation, he doesn’t fit here. Just because playing time was available doesn’t mean you fit the system. Conversely, players only love you when their playing.

    • AlwaysBlue

      I have to agree. I was as worried about the possibility of having to rely on him next season as I am about what pieces Michigan has left.

  • Pnickel

    I not bashing him but he will be a role player @ Florida as well. He just doesn’t have lead big man ability. Flat out!

  • Nick

    Best of luck to Jon! I’ll never forget his game against UCLA, thought it was a sign of big things to come. Hopefully he can play like this consistently at FLA.

    The last bucket shows his ceiling.

  • jakelam2116

    Good for Jon. I think this is a great fit. It’ll be fun to watch him next year, even if not in a Wolverines uniform.

  • A2PioneerGoBlue

    Dylan, was watching the OKC v. MEM playoff game and commentators mentioned that Igor Ibaka is talking with Michigan about a potential offer (as reported by Igor’s brother, Serge Ibaka). Igor is a PF in JC right now. Heard anything?

  • nexttimedown

    While I wish Horford all the best at Florida, his lack of foot speed really hurt him defensively and made him foul prone. Also, on offense, there were many instances where he received the ball down low and played very soft.

  • rlcBlue

    Huh. Well, I’m embarrassed that I ever speculated Jon would be going somewhere else for academic reasons. Unless he’s planning on getting an MA in Swamp Ecology or Stripping Studies, education-wise the move is just, like, zero-gains-ville.

    But good luck to him! I appreciate the work he put in at Michigan and I wouldn’t want him to leave school wondering “what if”.

    • Mattski

      Number 15 among public u’s as ranked by Forbes; was once that in the US News rankings, too. I once cared, because my wife is on the faculty at FSU, and I was looking around for a place to do a doctorate. Great Interdisciplinary Ecology program, in fact, only one of its kind in the southeast–several M grads who modeled it on Michigan’s School of Nat’l Resources. Got to work out of its top-20 Anthro department and what was (at least at the time) its top-five Lat Am studies program. Another university that was once on the climb, decimated by budget cuts and the Great Recession. I know you were only interested in slangin’ some hoohoo, but I thought I’d respond. Btw, (academics aside) UF’s pretty likely regarded as the better bball program over the last ten years, wouldn’t you think?

      • rlcBlue

        Yep, nothing like a little ivory tower trash talk to keep the off-season moving along. And, yes, Florida has surely been the better program over the past decade.

        • Mattski

          Sorry for the overkill response. . . mumble mumble.

          • jakerblue

            Even with all that, still a pretty big downgrade academically from UM. On top of that I would never want to live in Gainesville.

          • Mattski

            I agree. FSU–Florida’s other “flagship” school–is the less prestigious place, but Tallahassee is much the nicer town, a little like Ann Arbor was 15 years ago with better weather.

  • Webbdog

    Kid Knew McGary was not returning and wanted a Chance at a Championship. He gets that at Florida and a chance for more minutes in a system more suited for his skill set.

    • Dave Pratt

      A chance at a championship?? At Florida?!? Have you looked at their roster?