One of the biggest storylines in college basketball this season is the Florida Gators’ backcourt. People are saying it is the deepest and most talented backcourt in the country, and comparing their lineup to the four-guard lineup Villanova employed in the mid-2000s with Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Kyle Lowry, and Mike Nardi that helped Nova reach the Elite Eight in 2005. People see the Florida backcourt and they see a fourth-year starter in Erving Walker, a third-year starter in Kenny Boynton, a 16-point per game scorer from the Big East in Mike Rosario, and a top-five recruit in Bradley Beal. However, what people don’t see when talking about that backcourt, or just choose to overlook, is Scottie Wilbekin.
In fact, in Dime’s own preview of Florida, Wilbekin’s name was not even mentioned. While people overlook Wilbekin when talking about the 2011-12 Gators, it is hard to overlook what he did for last season’s Elite Eight team as a 17-year-old kid.
“I had been playing AAU ball with the guys I came in with for three years (Will Yeguete and Patric Young) after my junior year,” says Wilbekin when explaining why he skipped his senior year of high school to enroll early at Florida. “At that point it was just determining if Florida was the right fit for me, but ultimately I decided I wanted to stay home in Gainesville for school and enrolled at Florida after that.”
Wilbekin is a sophomore point guard who was the first guard off the bench for Billy Donovan last season while serving as a backup to both Boynton and Walker. He played 17 minutes a game and only averaged 2.4 points per contest, but that is not what got him on the floor last year, and won’t be what gets him on the floor this year. He had the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team last season, and is viewed as the only pure point guard on the Gators’ roster. However, even more importantly, Wilbekin is likely the team’s best perimeter defender. Last year, upon entering the game, Wilbekin was usually charged with guarding the other team’s best player – a task ranging from Kentucky’s Brandon Knight to BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in the NCAA Tournament.