Sitting at 4-1 on the season and riding a three game win streak, the Florida Gator men’s basketball team will head to Jacksonville Monday night to take on the Dolphins. The 16th ranked Gators received the news recently that they will have a true point guard as senior Scottie Wilbekin has officially been reinstated to the team after serving a suspension.
This is huge for a team that has looked lost in many aspects the past couple of games without a true point guard to take the ball up the court. This was most evident Thursday night where the Gators couldn’t manage much offense in the first half against Middle Tennessee.
On Monday expect to see the Gators improve greatly with the addition of not only their best ball handler, but their best on ball defender as well. Wilbekin is the kind of player that will shut down any guard for an opposing team and he will help a perimeter defense that has struggled.
Expect the senior to get normal playing time Monday night against the Dolphins.
With Wilbekin on the court, the Gators can run the kind of offense head coach Billy Donovan envisions. More post production from seniors Patric Young and Will Yeguete, an improved pick and roll game that can open up the three ball, and with a true point guard, red shirt sophomore Dorian Finney-Smith can be used in a variety of ways with the skill set he has shown in the few games he has played.
On Monday, the Gators will face a 2-3 Jacksonville squad that is coming off a 76-72 victory over the Florida A&M Rattlers. For the Gators to find success against the Dolphins they will need to shut down JU sophomore guard Jarvis Haywood who is averaging just over 15 points a game.
This will be the 35th meeting between the two schools with the Gators taking all but five of these contests. This will be the first meeting since this exact day in 2011 where the Gators came away with the victory 107-62.
The Gators will look to repeat that same success against JU Monday night but all eyes will be on the senior point guard as he steps on the court for the first time this season.
The Gators average just 11 assists per game and that ranks them 242nd in the NCAA. On Thursday night against Middle Tennessee the Gators finished with just 10 assists, eight of them coming in the second half. Without a true point guard, many of the Gator playmakers made it their duty to create their own offense, instead of creating it for their teammates.
Wilbekin will only increase these numbers for the Gators, and as the floor general he will be able to not only create the offense, but run it as well.