Three* games, two wins and one lesson learned apparently.
Scottie Wilbekin, written in as the starting point guard at the beginning of the season, was suspended for games against Georgetown, Alabama State and Wisconsin for a violation of team rules.
As announced by head coach Billy Donovan earlier today, the Gainesville native has been reinstated but will come off the bench on Sunday when the Gators take on a Middle Tennessee team that’s one of the early favorites in the Sun Belt.
“I don’t believe in having a doghouse,” Donovan said. “To me, he starts fresh and clean. I’d be making a mistake as a coach to be constantly holding onto that. I’m expecting him to move on.”
While Florida beat both Alabama State and Wisconsin by comfortable margins the turnover count in the win over the Badgers was a concern. The Gators turned the ball over 20 times and tallied just nine assists in the 74-56 victory, which was highlighted by the 24 points (10-of-10 FG) scored by Erik Murphy.
Adding Wilbekin to the fold allows Kenny Boynton to move off the ball, which is a more natural position for him. Boynton (three assists, three turnovers) and Mike Rosario (four assists, four turnover) both broke even in regards to their assist-to-turnover ratio against Wisconsin.
The biggest offenders in regards to turnovers on that night were forwards Will Yeguete and Patric Young (zero assists and nine turnovers). Adding another ball-handler to the rotation will help the Gators, especially considering their opponent on Sunday.
Kermit Davis’ squad won 27 games last season and returns four starters (all of whom are seniors), most notably 6-2 guard Marcos Knight and 6-8 forward JT Sulton. Knight (12.5 ppg) and Jason Jones Jr. (10.0 ppg) are the lone Blue Raiders averaging double figures through two games, but seven Middle Tennessee players average at least six points per contest.