Wednesday, January 30, 2013
What Wilbekin means to Florida
By Luke Lapinski
Losing a skilled backcourt duo like Bradley Beal and Erving Walker would set a lot of teams back. Florida did exactly that over the summer and, while there was plenty of talent ready to step in, there's always at least a little uncertainty when making a transition like that. Fortunately for fans in Gainesville, the Gators have made the process appear almost seamless.
Scottie Wilbekin has been a major reason why. The junior guard played just 15.2 minutes per game last year, averaging 2.6 points and 1.6 assists per contest. This time around, he's seen those numbers jump to 9.1 points and 5.1 assists while hitting the floor for over 31 minutes of action per night. His most valuable asset, however, might just be what he brings to the other end of the court.
Billy Donovan's squad has shown a marked improvement defensively this season, allowing just 51.2 points per game so far. That's second only to Stephen F. Austin -- who obviously hasn't faced the caliber of opponents Florida has seen -- and noticeably better than the 65.0 points they were allowing in 2011-12. What's more, KenPom.com has them ranked No. 1 overall in Adjusted D. Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports contends that Wilbekin has been the catalyst for this turnaround, using his size to slow down a variety of strong opposing players along the perimeter. Considering the fact that the Gators made the Elite Eight a year ago with a much shakier defense, there's certainly the potential for a deep run if they can keep this up.