Tag: Scottie Wilbekin

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Scottie Wilbekin can’t see Billy Donovan leaving Florida

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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.

[h/t @OnlyGators]

Kentucky commit Tyler Ulis tweets Florida’s Scottie Wilbekin “not good”

Scottie Wilbekin, Ryan Boatright

Tyler Ulis, the Kentucky commit, won’t begin his collegiate career until next fall, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking part in the Wildcats’ rivalry with SEC foe Florida.

On Saturday night, during Gators’ national semifinal against UConn, Ulis decided to voice his opinion (since deleted) on Florida point guard and SEC Player of the Year, Scottie Wilbekin:

His is, however, apparently a fan of UConn’s Shabazz Napier:

The UConn guard tandem of Napier and Ryan Boatright have hounded opposing back courts in the NCAA tournament and the national semifinal was no different as Wilbekin was held to four points off 2-of-9 shooting with one assist and three turnovers.

But Wilbekin’s resume speaks for itself. He’s reached the Elite 8 in every season he’s been at Gainesville and now a Final Four while earning conference play of the year honors. Despite not playing well on Saturday, he was the South Region’s Most Outstanding Player.

Ulis is not viewed as a one-and-done type recruit for John Calipari, so only time will tell if the McDonald’s All American can generate that kind of success in his career in Lexington.

[h/t Troy Machir, Sporting News]

No. 1 Florida, Scottie Wilbekin cruise to win over No. 9 Pitt

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Scottie Wilbekin finished with 21 points on 9-for-15 shooting, hitting clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch, as the South’s top seed, Florida, knocked off No. 9 seed Pitt, 61-45, to become the first team officially in the Sweet 16.

The Gators will take on the winner of tomorrow night’s game between No. 4 UCLA and No. 12 Stephen F. Austin.

If you were looking for a blueprint for what makes Florida so dangerous, you got it on Saturday. The Gators were downright menacing defensively, particularly at the start of the first half. Pitt shot just 37.1% from the floor, scored all of 45 points and hit 4-for-17 from beyond the arc on a night where the Gators committed just seven fouls the entire game.

Playing stifling defense without committing fouls is not an easy thing to do.

On the other side of the floor, the Gators struggled a bit early on, but they finally got into a rhythm in the second half. Florida committed six turnovers in the game and didn’t commit one in the second half until they dribbled out the shot clock up 16 on their final possession of the game. And as has been the case all season long, the difference-maker down the stretch was Wilbekin, who hit a series of ridiculously tough runners to keep the Panthers at bay. There may not be a player in the country that is as good as Wilbekin with the ball in his hands in crunch time, and I have the feeling that, at some point in the later rounds, that’s going to save the Gators.

But here’s what’s scary: think about what Florida can be if they start hitting their jump shots. On Saturday, the Gators were just 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. On Thursday, they shot just 3-for-12 from deep.

It’s not like they don’t have shooters. Michael Frazier II is as good as anyone in the country. Wilbekin can hit threes. Dorian Finney-Smith is streaky, but he can hit four or five in a given night when he gets it rolling.

Florida is as good as anyone in the country when their shots aren’t dropping.

When they are, they’re near-unbeatable.

As an aside, this is the fourth straight season that the Gators have made the Sweet 16. Patrick Young, Will Yeguete, Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather have all reached the Sweet 16 in every year they’re been in college. They’ve actually reached three Elite 8s as well, but they’ve never made the Final Four.

Is this the year they break that barrier?