Profile: Scottie Wilbekin
Published: Monday, November 4, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 9:37 p.m.
SCOTTIE WILBEKIN • G • SENIOR
Once again, Florida senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin is trying to make amends for some off-court issues.
Weight: 176 pounds
Wilbekin was suspended indefinitely from the Gators last spring for an undisclosed violation of team rules. It was Wilbekin's second disciplinary suspension in the span of seven months, and it left the Gainesville native locked out of UF's practice facility over the summer.
Wilbekin returned to the team to practice in October. But Florida coach Billy Donovan said his returning starting point guard will face a suspension of undisclosed length to start the season.
Wilbekin has met the conditions that have been asked of him up to this point, Donovan said. Wilbekin, who has been barred from speaking to the media as part of his punishment, also is regaining the trust of his teammates.
“It hasn't been easy for him, but I think he's made some strides,” Florida senior forward Will Yeguete said. “The last few weeks, the last few months, he's doing so much better now. He's become a better man. I'm really proud of him because he's ready to change.”
On the court, Wilbekin emerged as one of the better perimeter defenders in the country last season. In a head-to-head matchup last season against Missouri point guard Phil Pressey, Wilbekin displayed his defensive prowess. Wilbekin held the SEC's preseason player of the year to just two points on 1-of-6 shooting while contributing to Pressey's 10 turnovers.
“Scottie is a great defender,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. “He plays with great tenacity. Last year I thought he was the key to their defense. I thought Florida was one of the better defensive teams in the country, and I thought Scottie was the key.
“When you have the point guard being the leader of the pack for you on defense, that's tremendous. He will probably be one of the better defenders in the league this year.”
Offensively, Wilbekin was solid in his junior season, averaging 9.1 points and finishing second in the SEC in assists with five per game. Donovan hasn't ruled out playing Wilbekin and freshman point guard Kasey Hill on the court at the same time in stretches. Wilbekin should help take some of the ball-handling pressure off Hill, and vice versa.
“Scottie is the ultimate competitor,” Florida sophomore forward DeVon Walker said. “He's a guy who is going to go hard no matter what. Any challenge that he's faced, he's going to try to overcome.”