No. 19 Florida Gators (6-2) head basketball coach Billy Donovan met with the media on Monday, one day before his team hosts the No. 13 Kansas Jayhawks (6-2) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge. Florida and Kansas will square off on Tuesday at 7 p.m. live on ESPN.
POINT GUARDS WILL PLAY
As was reported by OnlyGators.com last week and confirmed by the Gators on Saturday, senior point guard Scottie Wilbekin (ankle) has been cleared to play against the Jayhawks. Donovan said on Monday that the player has been “fine” and practicing the last few days without incident. Even though Wilbekin was initially “diagnosed” with a high-ankle sprain, Donovan admitted that the player could have practiced the next day but was held out as a precaution.
Freshman point guard Kasey Hill, who OnlyGators.com also reported would probably see some action as a reserve in his first game back from a high-ankle sprain, has also been cleared by play. Donovan went a bit more in-depth about Hill’s status.
“It’s really hard for me to say how much he will play, will not play. [Sunday] was the first day he’s done some things as it relates to contact. There is some tentativeness there. He’s not in great pain. I think he’s still probably recovering,” he said. “This is the first time he’ll be out there. We’ve been doing individual workouts and those kinds of things with him. For what his role would be in [Tuesday’s] game would be too hard to say, but I would say he’ll be available to be put into the game. …
“There’s really no limitations on Kasey’s playing time from the doctors … but because he’s been out and he’s been out of practice so long – that’s been nearly three weeks right now – I just don’t know what I’m going to get for him. We’ll give him an opportunity. He’ll have another day of practice under his belt. Hopefully he’ll get back to feeling a little bit more comfortable. He feels pretty good right now, and as long as that continues, we’ll use him as we need him.”
COMING SOON: CHRIS WALKER
As OnlyGators.com, citing two sources, reported on Dec. 4, five-star incoming freshman forward Chris Walker has completed his academic requirements and is scheduled to join the Florida basketball program for the first time on Saturday. A third source confirmed Monday that Walker has been told to report to the team Saturday.
Donovan confirmed OnlyGators.com‘s report that Walker’s academic coursework is complete and he is simply awaiting clearance from both by the University of Florida and the NCAA Clearinghouse.
“He’s got to go through an admissions process like any other student here for the second semester,” he said. “Now it’s kind of our of our hands and we’re just waiting to hear back of what the ruling will be in terms of him being a qualifier, being able to start school.”
OnlyGators.com learned last week that Donovan has already been told Walker will be academically cleared and able to practice, hence Saturday being set as his reporting date. Donovan admitted as much, correctly noting that Walker cannot join the team until final exams end for the fall 2013 semester. The last exams will be distributed on Friday.