“Yeah I love that,” says Wilbekin about his role as a defensive stopper. “That’s my favorite thing to do, get stops on defense and making big plays on that end really gets me going. Coach Donovan told me that he wants me to be even more of a pest on defense this year and have more of an impact on that end which is something I’m really looking forward to.”
While having four other guards on the roster who are all capable of being All-SEC performers might discourage someone in Wilbekin’s position, he sees it as a chance to get better. There are few guards in the country better than the ones Florida has this year, and the opportunity to go up against them each day in practice makes games almost easy for him. He figures if he can limit those guys every day in practice, then there are few guys in the country he won’t be able to match up with. Additionally, with all the hype surrounding Florida, one might think Wilbekin would be disappointed his name is not usually attached, especially considering he was part of an Elite Eight team last year, but that doesn’t bother him either.
“Umm, no”, he says about if the media attention his teammates garner bothers him. “I just look at it from the standpoint of when I do something that deserves to be recognized then they will recognize me, but I haven’t done that yet and I can’t worry about that stuff. I just need to focus on getting my game better, but I’m happy for all the other guys and not worried about that.”
While Wilbekin can play off the presence of four elite guards on his team and the lack of media recognition he gets, the reality is that all five of Florida’s guards are going to have to share a certain number of minutes, and Wilbekin likely will not play as much as he did last year. Saying that, it is likely that the now 18-year-old sophomore will do something worthy of recognition this year, and many members of the media will be left wondering why they never mentioned Wilbekin’s name when talking about Florida’s elite backcourt.
How far do you think the Gators can go this season?
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