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NCAA rules Florida’s Gorjok Gak ineligible for 2016-17 season

Florida Gators new center Gorjok Gak hasn’t suffered an injury, but he won’t play in the 2016-17 season.

Florida announced Tuesday that the NCAA cleared the 6-foot-11, 205-pound center for fall enrollment but denied his eligibility for this coming season. Gak, who is from Australia, will be permitted to practice and may participate in all basketball activities except games.

This ruling will essentially cut a year off his college sports eligibility. If he meets the progress requirements the NCAA sets, Gak may play as a sophomore in 2017-18. At that point, he will have three years remaining of eligibility.

Gak is from Australia but went to high school at Victory Rock Prep in Bradenton, FL. During his senior season, he averaged 13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. 247 Sports rated him a three-star recruit and the 26th-best center available in the 2016 recruiting class.

Orginially, he signed a letter of intent with Oklahoma State, but he requested his release after the Cowboys fired coach Travis Ford. In April, Gak committed to Florida.

With his size and ability to average close to a double-double in high school, the Gators were likely hoping Gak was going to help replace the departed Dorian Finney-Smith, who led Florida with 14.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per contest last season. Fortunately, redshirt junior center John Egbunu is coming back. He averaged 11.5 ppg and 6.5 rpg in 2015-16.

Florida also still has power forward Dontay Bassett and shooting guard Eric Hester coming in as part of the 2016 recruiting class. Bassett and Hester were four and three-star recruits, respectively.

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