Florida coach Billy Donovan declined to divulge why he suspended junior starting point guard Scott Wilbekin indefinitely.
The 6-foot-2 playmaker did not do anything criminal or anything that would be considered an NCAA violation, Donovan said. Donovan said “information was brought to me” early Thursday that led to the suspension.
“Scottie is a good kid who made some choices and did some things that I’m not going to have him a part of,” Donovan said.
Donovan was unsure when Wilbekin would return.
“How long it lasts, I don’t know,” he said. “But right now, I felt like he didn’t need to be here or playing in this game.”
The Gators also will be without swingman Casey Prather, who sustained his second concussion in nine days earlier in the week. Throw in the unexpected departure of forward Cody Larson last month and Florida will have just five returning players and four freshmen for the opener.
“This throws a wrench,” Donovan said. “We’ve got to do some things in practice to make some adjustments going into this game. You’ve taken three veterans players off of our team. Instead of having eight guys, you’re really down to five. Our freshmen are going to get a chance to play.”
Kenny Boynton will move to point guard, and Donovan said either freshman Michael Frazier or senior Mike Rosario will start at shooting guard.
Wilbekin averaged 2.3 points last season playing behind Erving Walker. With Walker gone, the Gators expected much more from Wilbekin this season. He is the son of a minister and hasn’t been known to get into trouble.
“I think Scottie will learn from this, grow from this and I think he’ll be better from it,” Donovan said. “Like anything else, when you’re dealing with anybody, none of are immune from making mistakes or making poor choices and doing things.”
Donovan said Wilbekin regretted his mistake.
“He’s very, very remorseful,” Donovan said. “He feels very, very bad. Internally, really, really hurt by it. Took responsibility, accepted being accountable. I think he understands. For me as a coach, I think a lot of times it’s a lot bigger than the outcome.”