In four years at Florida, Scottie Wilbekin may have had his bumps in the road, but the Gators point guard was part of teams that reached three Elite Eights, and this past season made it to the Final Four after running the table in the SEC.
The 2014 SEC Player of the Year is hoping his success in college translates to the next level. As he tries to find a spot on a roster, will his coach, Billy Donovan, find a spot on an NBA sideline?
That’s been a consistent storyline this offseason as Donovan, along with several other college coaches, have been targeted for NBA vacancies. The Cleveland Cavaliers pushed for hard for UConn’s Kevin Ollie, were in “deep talks” with Kentucky’s John Calipari and reached out to Donovan in recent months.
Despite the rumors, and Donovan’s refusal to guarantee his future at the University of Florida, Wilbekin believes Donovan won’t leave Gainesville. The former Gator appeared on The Jim Rome Show on Friday to discuss the topic.
“I could definitely see him being a coach [in the NBA], but I don’t think he’ll leave just because I know how much he loves Florida and Gainesville,” Wilbekin said. “It’s such a great atmosphere in Gainesville that I can’t see him leaving.”
In 2007, Donovan briefly left Florida for the Orlando Magic. In the past week, reports stated that the Cavaliers had offered Calipari a seven-year, $60 million deal while other reported that the proposed offer was longer and worth more money. Not saying that would have been the same deal Donovan would have received, but it’s clear that NBA teams will be willing to do what it takes to try and uproot coaches from college campuses.
In March, Donovan signed an extension with the university through 2019.
The entire Wilbekin interview can be heard here.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: