With Erving Walker having graduated the keys to the Florida offense were to be handed to junior Scottie Wilbekin, who may not be as explosive as Walker but he also isn’t considered to be as unpredictable.
But head coach Billy Donovan has decided that Wilbekin has some things to learn still, as he’s made the decision to bench his point guard for their season opener against Georgetown tomorrow night.
Chris Harry of GatorZone.com reported the news this morning, and the move means that senior Kenny Boynton will run the show for Florida on the USS Bataan.
Wilbekin averaged just 2.6 points per game last season, but with the scoring options that the Gators have scoring points won’t be his most important job.
Setting up the likes of Boynton, Mike Rosario, Erik Murphy and Patric Young while also spearheading things defensively are the duties that Wilbekin will have to perform if Florida is to contend in the SEC.
Wilbekin averaged 1.6 assists per game, but it’s his assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8 last season and 2.2 as a freshman) and the fact that he’s more of a distributor than a scorer that makes Wilbekin a solid option to run the show.
“Scottie is a pass-first point guard, not a scoring guard, but that’s not to say he can’t score. He can,” senior guard Mike Rosario said. “Erv came down the floor looking to score. Scott will take good shots when they’re there, but he knows this team needs a guy who can run the offense and distributes shots. And we need his defense.”
But with this decision by Donovan it’s apparent that there’s some work to be done, and not solely from a basketball standpoint.
Florida could be down two players for tomorrow’s match-up due to the concussion suffered by forward Casey Prather in Monday’s practice, and on Tuesday it sounded as if the Gators weren’t expecting him to be ready to play.
“He is totally healed from the first one,” coach Billy Donovan said of Prather. “Obviously now, he’s gotta go through a series of baseline tests and those things. They don’t think it’s as bad as it was before, but I would say that he, right now, is probably not going to play on Friday.”
With Wilbekin out and Prather doubtful the Gators will need a fifth starter. Freshmen Michael Frazier II, Dillon Graham, Braxton Ogbueze and DeVon Walker all factor into the equation, with all seeing between 15 and 19 minutes of action in their 101-71 exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney last Thursday.
Frazier was the most productive offensively, scoring 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, and both Ogbueze (15 points) and Graham (12 points, three assists) were solid as well.
Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.