UF reinstates Wilbekin

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 16, 2012 at 12:06 p.m.

Florida announced today that suspended guard Scottie Wilbekin has been reinstated to the men’s basketball team.

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In this file photo Florida Gators guard Scottie Wilbekin (5) drives to the basket against the Tennessee Volunteers during the first half at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Saturday Feb. 11, 2012, in Gainesville, Fla. Tennessee defeated Florida 75-70.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

Florida coach Billy Donovan said Wilbekin will not start, but will play Sunday in Tampa against Middle Tennessee State. Wilbekin started Florida’s exhibition game at point guard and was projected to start at point guard to start the season. He was suspended for the first three games of the season for a violation of team rules. Donovan did not disclose the full reason why Wilbekin was suspended.

Donovan said Wilbekin, was remorseful and took responsibility for his actions when the two met Friday morning before he was reinstated.

“I think he certainly paid the price of missing three games, three pretty big games to start his junior season,” Donovan said. “I think he missed out on the opportunity to play on the ship (Against Georgetown on the USS Bataan in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic), and then the home opener against Alabama State and then playing the other night against Wisconsin. I think he has definitely paid the price.”

Wilbekin, a junior, averaged 2.6 points per game off the bench last season with 22 steals. A Gainesville native and former standout at The Rock School, Wilbekin enrolled at UF early as a 17-year-old after earning his high school diploma in three years.

Donovan did not give a definitive timetable on when or if Wilbekin would earn his starting job back.

“He’s got to work back,” Donovan said. “He’s missed a week of practice, by his own doing. That’s not to say that he’s never going to start here again. One of my things as a coach is I don’t believe in having any doghouses so to speak. To me, he starts fresh and clean.”

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