Two times in the span of eight months, Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin has been suspended from the Gator basketball program by Billy Donovan.
The first time was back in November, when he was benched for the first three games of the regular season. Last week, he was suspended again, and once again it was for a violation of team rules. And on Thursday morning, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz detailed what, exactly, goes into a suspension for a college basketball player during June: Wilbekin is not allowed at team workouts, but he can lift on his own and work out with the coaching staff.
More importantly, Donovan told Katz that Wilbekin isn’t part of the team in a group sense right now, which could be a problem given the fact that Florida has a stud point guard recruit named Kasey Hill coming into the program. Hill will be on campus next week for Florida’s summer session, and he will be allowed to workout with the team.
Donovan will reportedly reconsider Wilbekin’s standing when he returns from a trip to Prague with the U19 team on July 8th, and it seems like this is more of a wake-up call for Wilbekin than anything; a message that he needs to get his act together. Suspensions in June rarely remain in effect in November, so Florida fans probably don’t have too much to worry about.
The issue will be whether or not Wilbekin learns from this experience.
If he doesn’t get his act together, Florida’s back court depth may be determined by whether or not Eli Carter gets a waiver from the NCAA.
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.
The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.
They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.
That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.
So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.
Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:
With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.
At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes
“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:
“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”
“It’s all money.”
Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.
Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .
Want to talk about coaching luxuries?
Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.