It did not take long – just under two minutes, actually – for Florida Gators senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin to find his groove on the court.
With 18:09 left in the first half, Wilbekin made his first impactful play of the season by driving into the paint, drawing two defenders and dishing the ball to senior center Patric Young for an easy two-handed dunk.
He grabbed his first rebound 22 seconds later, registered his first steal 40 seconds after that and pushed the Gators ahead by 10 points after 52 more seconds elapsed by finding sophomore guard Michael Frazier II wide open for an easy three-pointer.
“It seemed like forever. It was just great to get back out there,” said Wilbekin following Florida’s 86-60 victory over the Jacksonville Dolphins on Monday night. “I was a little nervous before the game just because it had been so long, but once the ball got tipped up and we started moving up and down, I got back into it.”
Missing the first six games of the year due to a suspension for a violation of team rules, Wilbekin played for the first time this season and could often be spotted with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, especially while surrounded by his teammates.
In all he assisted on four of Frazier’s five threes, drained two triples of his own and served as the floor general the Gators have been so sorely missing this season even though freshman PG Kasey Hill filled in admirably in his absence.
Wilbekin was not all smiles after the game, however. Head coach Billy Donovan brought the local product out to his post-game press conference, an unusual occurrence outside of a tournament in which the team is participating, and sat alongside him as he delivered a contrite apology to Gator Nation.