Through the weekend, OnlyGators.com will take a look at each of the four seniors that will be honored on Saturday afternoon when the men’s basketball program celebrates Senior Day at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
Imagine being 17 years old again. The biggest concerns in your life are taking the SATs, Friday-night plans, getting invited to the big party on Saturday and finding out whether your crush will show up and hang out with you.
Now imagine being that age and taking college classes, going through a major strength and conditioning program and playing basketball against teams with rosters that include players that are up to five years your senior.
Scottie Wilbekin was not at the University of Florida as a 17-year-old freshman because he was at another level academically (though he certainly did well enough in high school to graduate early) or mature beyond his years but rather because the Florida Gators desperately needed a point guard and had a spot open for the local Gainesville, FL product in 2010 that had to be filled and was unlikely to exist a year later.
The interest was more than mutual.
When Gators head coach Billy Donovan began recruiting Wilbekin, he did so with four incoming freshman scholarships filled and only a preferred walk on offer in his hand.
Wilbekin had heard from Boston College, Central Florida, Georgia, Tech, Maryland, Nevada and Virginia but always wanted to play for his hometown team.
His father, Svend Wilbekin, trusted Donovan back then in April 2010 to look out for his son’s best interests. The two knew each other for about a decade as both of their sons played on the same AAU team as eight-year-olds.