Gators ranked No. 4, Wilbekin honored

Florida moved up to No. 4 in both major polls this week after winning both games last week and watching teams ahead in the rankings lose. Junior point guard Scottie Wilbekin was honored for his performance against Georgia and Mississippi State last week when the Southeastern Conference named him player of the week on Monday morning.

Scottie Wilbekin started the week with 17 points, three rebounds and three assists at Georgia. He shot 7-for-9 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the three-point line while turning the ball over just once in 36 minutes on the court.

Wilbekin posted 13 points, one rebound and nine assists in 32 minutes at Mississippi State. He shot 5-for-9 from the field and 3-for-5 from behind the three-point line in 32 minutes of action.

It was the second straight week Wilbekin had at least one game with nine assists.

The added part of Wilbekin's game is his defense. His strong on-ball defense gives the Gators a clear option for who will guard the opponent's best player.

"I think he's gotten better and improved," Billy Donovan said of his point guard. "His turnover ratio is really good. Scottie has done a really, really good job of finding people when they're open. He's made really good decisions, and I think he's made it even easier for other people around him.

"We've also got some really, really good defensive performances out of him against some really talented players inside this league."

The rankings watched Florida skyrocket. The Gators were No. 8 in the AP Poll and No. 7 in the Coaches' Poll last week. Because of multiple losses in the top eight of college basketball last week, the Gators moved to No. 4 in both polls on Monday.

With the Gators now holding their highest ranking since being at No. 1 and winning the national championship to end the 2006-07 season, the team must continue to block out distractions.

"It's nice to be recognized for the hard work we've been putting in," Florida center Patric Young said. "It lets us know that we're doing the right thing so far, that we need to keep improving. No championship's been won in January or February, so hopefully we can keep this thing going and have a one seed going into the tournament, but that's down the road and later on. We're going to worry about this game coming Wednesday."

The Gators host South Carolina at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

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