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Can redshirt freshman Keith Stone play the four for Florida?

Stone took a redshirt year to add bulk in the weight room and may be part of Florida’s frontcourt rotation in 2016-17.

Florida v UConn Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Compared to football, redshirting an incoming freshman -- at least, for reasons having to do with the depth chart rather than ineligibility — is fairly rare at the highest levels of college basketball. And when it does happen, it’s usually a big man who’s relatively new to the game and not ready to contribute, even as a backup.

So some people might have been surprised by Mike White’s decision to redshirt Keith Stone as a freshman in 2015-16. The Deerfield Beach product by way of Zion Lutheran Christian School was rated as the No. 84 recruit (four-star) in the Class of 2015 by 247 Sports. Rivals rated him as the No. 94 recruit (also a four-star), and ESPN ranked him No. 82 in the country and the No. 13 small forward in the class.

You don’t normally see college coaches intentionally redshirt a Top 100 freshman, but when you look at Florida’s depth chart last season, it makes sense. The Gators had Dorian Finney-Smith, Justin Leon, and Devin Robinson on the wings. How much playing time was Stone really going to get? On a lot of levels, redshirting a guy who’s likely only going to play spot minutes makes sense, and it’s a wonder that coaches don’t do it more often instead of burning a year of eligibility so that a guy can play 50 minutes all year.

(And no, he’s not the guy in the Keystone Light commercials a few years ago if you were wondering.)

How does he fit on the roster? While Finney-Smith is now playing professionally, the Gators do still have Devin Robinson and Justin Leon. Stone has added weight and is up to 240 pounds according to the official roster, so if he can play the four for the Gators that might be the path of least resistance now that incoming freshman Gorjok Gak has been declared ineligible. That leaves John Egbunu and Kevarrius Hayes as the only true big men available for Florida, and Stone might have a better opportunity for playing time in the frontcourt rotation than on the wing.