Florida coach Mike White talks with his players during the first half Sunday of the East Regional championship game against South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament in New York. [Frank Franklin II/Associated Press]

Florida to reward White with contract extension

By Kevin Brockway Staff writer
Sunday, March 26, 2017 8:50 PM

NEW YORK — By getting Florida to the Elite Eight for the ninth time in school history, Florida coach Mike White could be in for a raise in the near future.

Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin confirmed following UF’s 77-70 loss to South Carolina on Sunday that he’s been in conversations with White about a contract extension.

“We’ve just got to sign some paperwork, but we let him know several weeks ago that he’s our guy and we want to be committed to him long term,” Stricklin said.

White just completed the second-year of a six-year deal that pays him an average annual salary of $2 million. In addition, White received a $75,000 bonus for getting Florida to the Elite Eight and a $25,000 bonus for being named the AP’s SEC coach of the Year.

White is 48-24 in two seasons at Florida. Florida finished the 2016-17 season 27-9, a six-game improvement over his 21-15 rookie campaign.

On and off the court, Stricklin said he feels positive about the direction of the Florida men’s basketball program.

“The Elite Eight is a pretty cool spot,” Stricklin said. “We wanted to go to the next round, but I didn’t have any preconceived notions.

“But you know what I love, I love how hard our kids play and I love how selfless they are. I love the way they carry themselves on the court and the way they represent the University of Florida and that’s a direct correlation to the young men on the team and to Coach White in his staff and I think we got a lot of years in basketball to look forward to in the University of Florida.”

D-Robb’s decision

Devin Robinson said he still doesn’t know whether he’ll come back for his senior season yet or not. But the 6-foot-8 junior forward admitted Sunday’s Elite Eight loss could factor into his decision.

“This does motivate me to come back and do this again,” Robinson said. “But I want to get further next time. It was nice that we got this far, but it would be nice to get further.”

Robinson had just five points and one rebound in the loss. But Robinson remains a decent NBA draft prospect, based on his size and athletic ability. The NBA mock draft website DraftExpress.com projects Robinson to go 34th overall (early second round) to the Orlando Magic.

“I want Devin to do what’s best for Devin and his family, period,” White said. “I love coaching Devin. He’s fun. He’s fallen in love with the game. I think he’s refocused on the game. It’s not about hype and talent anymore, he’s had fun learning what it takes to be a really good player and I think he’s been proud of his development.”

Senior sendoff

The South Carolina loss was the final game for four UF seniors — forward Justin Leon, point guard Kasey Hill, forward Canyon Barry and walk-on center Schuyler Rimmer.

Leon had a team-high 18 points in his final game in a Gator uniform. Hill had 11 points, 5 assists and 3 steals to finish his career second on UF’s all-time list in assists (530) and fourth in steals (182). Barry had 4 points and 1 rebound in 20 minutes off the bench and Rimmer did not play.

“I learned just to never give up, regardless of the circumstances,” Leon said. “Things may not go your way, but you never know what you’re capable of, you just have to keep going.”

Barry earned SEC sixth man of the year honors and finished second on the team in scoring at 11.4 points per game.

“It’s been a blessing,” Barry said. “It’s been a great season. It’s been fun to be a Florida Gator. Really thankful for all the support that we’ve gotten.”

Etc.

Florida dropped to 5-4 in Elite Eight games in school history. … Sophomore guard KeVaughn Allen and junior guard Chris Chiozza were named to the East Regional all-tournament team. … Florida football coach Jim McElwain attended the game.




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