Wilbekin Starting Real Early

Local Gainesville basketball star Scottie Wilbekin should be on a summer break before his senior year in high school. Instead, he will be enrolling at the University of Florida this week and preparing to help the Florida basketball program back to its place atop the national standings.

Scottie Wilbekin has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to school and basketball, now he faces his toughest challenge.

He will just have to make the trek across town when, but Scottie Wilbekin is raring and ready to get things rolling as a Florida point guard.

"I am just excited and can't wait," Wilbekin said Sunday night about starting school. "I have been waiting for everything that comes with being in college...the great atmosphere and playing ball whenever I want to."

Wilbekin passed up a senior year of high school and all the fun that goes with it in order to take advantage of a challenge he seems to have prepared for most of his life. He has always played against older competition and thrived doing so.

"I just looked at it as an opportunity and another stepping stone," he said.

He understands what the obstacles will be for a newcomer.

"I would say adopting to how fast the game will be compared to high school," Wilbekin responded when asked the toughest hurdle will be for him. "I have done that all my life, but this will be the toughest.

First comes the conditioning and preparation before the season. There is little doubt that physically it is harder than the season itself. Wilbekin is as ready as he can be for it.

"I am looking forward to it," he said of the workouts. "Whatever they do I know it is going to make me a better player, so I am just looking forward to it. I want to establish myself as a player that can be trusted to do anything Coach Donovan needs me to do."

The Gators needed some help, a lot of it after struggling at the end of games last year due to lack of depth and being tired. The 2010 class has five high schoolers and a transfer and will add a lot of depth to an already talented team. Will Yeguete of Florida Air Academy in Melbourne and Patric Young of Jacksonville Providence HS are two guys that Wilbekin knows well.

"I played in that (2010) class in AAU and Will Yeguete was actually on my team, we played together," Wilbekin said. "Will is a hard worker and whatever the job is he gets it done."

"My high school played Providence last year and this year. Patric is a gifted young basketball player. He is so strong and so athletic. He has gotten so much better it is amazing. When we played him at Providence he was just so much better.

The class as a whole has a lot of hopes for the 2010-11 team and just what they can bring to the table.

"I think we have a good chance of possibly going all the way," Wilbekin said. "We have all starters coming back and new players who can give the starters a rest so they won't be tired at the end of the game and will be able to perform at the top level. They had the talent last year, just ran out of gas."

Wilbekin wants Gator fans to understand what he brings to the table and the quest to win more championships.

"I have a high basketball IQ," he said. "I focus on defense and I will give everything I have to win."

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