Scottie Wilbekin’s Suspension Leaves Florida In a Tough SpotPosted by Brian Joyce on November 8th, 2012
Scottie Wilbekin, Florida’s starting point guard, has been suspended indefinitely by Gators’ coach Billy Donovan for an undisclosed reason. And now might not be the best time for Florida to lose a starting point guard as Donovan isn’t the type of coach to take it easy in the early going of the non-conference schedule. Florida plays in the Carrier Classic on the USS Bataan on Friday, November 9, against Georgetown.
“Scottie is a great kid who made some choices and did some things that I am not going to have him be a part of (this team),” Donovan said. “How long it lasts, I don’t know. But right now, I just felt like he didn’t need to be here.” When asked whether or not this was a serious violation involving NCAA violations or anything illegal, Donovan responded that, “Not, right now, nothing criminal or anything like that.”
The loss of Wilbekin could be a major setback for the Gators. Donovan was in the process of breaking in his new point guard with an otherwise experienced roster that went to the Elite Eight last year. Wilbekin is taking over the reins for departed senior Erving Walker, who was a three-year starter at point guard. A proper adjustment period during the early non-conference schedule could be crucial for Florida’s development as a team and for its trust in a new leader.
Donovan has a number of options to explore for the Gators’ starting lineup. He named senior Kenny Boynton as the starter at point guard, leaving a decision regarding Boynton’s position at the other guard spot. Michael Frazier, a freshman guard who played well over the exhibition slate, could gain some added experience and continue Donovan’s preference for a three-guard lineup. Or Donovan could go big and slide guard Mike Rosario down to the two guard slot and insert rebounding extraordinaire Will Yeguete into the lineup at one of the forward positions. The SEC microsite has been critical of Florida’s rebounding abilities, and this could be a way for Donovan to test out the effectiveness of a bigger lineup.
Unlike the numerous other suspensions of SEC players, the suspension of Wilbekin will likely have long-term implications for the Gators. Donovan has the ability to determine if changes in other parts of his lineup can have a significant effect on Florida’s success. He will certainly use this time to experiment with other options. However, will Wilbekin’s absence (and subsequent lack of valuable time with the team) undo any progress? Only time will tell what level of effect his absence will have on Florida — starting tomorrow.
Brian Joyce is a writer for the SEC microsite and regular contributor for Rush The Court. Follow him on Twitter for more about SEC basketball at bjoyce_hoops.