I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Tanner Dennie and I am very excited to write for In All Kinds of Weather! I will mostly be covering Gators Basketball, and I will be helping out Joey with recruiting news and Spring football leading into Fall.
For those who care to know a little bit about me/background, I am currently studying Journalism at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, FL. This is my last semester before I graduate with my Associates Degree, and then I will be off to the University of Florida. I am a 3rd year member of the University of Florida Drum Line, and clearly, I am a die hard Gator fan. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, my handle is @IAKOWTanner. I hope everyone enjoys my articles.
Anyway, I’d like to start my career at IAKOW by discussing something very important that I took away from the Gators’ takedown of Arkansas last Saturday.
But the main key to this ball game was Wilbekin and how he stepped up offensively when his number was called. After paying close attention to Scottie’s every move on Saturday, here are two main reasons why I think he is clearly the x-factor for this team going throughout the SEC schedule, and into March Madness.
1. No one on the Gators is a better defender than Scottie Wilbekin
It’s as simple as that. He can guard the perimeter better than anyone because of how quick he is on his feet. Consistently, Wilbekin knows how to guard a face up shooter and he knows exactly how to force the opposing player to take bad shots. Just ask Anthlon Bell from Arkansas. Bell shot 1-5, making only 1 three pointer. Scottie did an outstanding job guarding him straight up. If Scottie can keep locking down on defense, and shuts down the other team’s best catalyst, all Florida has to do on offense is have an average night and they’ll be able to routinely grind out 10-15 point wins. If Florida has a great night offensively- if Patric Young gets going in the paint and Michael Frazier gets hot from three point land- look out. The Gators will be able to overpower even the best of teams with that combination.
2. Scottie Wilbekin is reliable late in the game
After showing that he can make a last second shot to at least give the Gators a chance late in the game to win, Wilbekin can be the official go-to option offensively. Over the last 3 years, the Gators have simply choked away some big games because of defensive breakdowns, and because of not being able to score during long stretches late in the ball game. If Scottie Wilbekin can find his stroke late in the game and can clutch it for the Gators, this could get them over the hump in tournament play.
Not everything is hunky-dory with Wilbekin though. One thing that could hold him and the Gators from making a Final Four appearance is selfish play. Scottie is normally a great passer. You have to be able to swing the ball without turning it over. With playmakers at every position for the Gators, distributing the ball is a key for this team to make a run late in the season. Yet when I watch Scottie play, I feel like he doesn’t dish the ball enough early in the game. I counted 4 times in 2 games that he held on to the ball for 15 seconds instead of passing the ball around and running the offense to get a last second shot.
With that being said, I feel like this Florida team is very special, and in large part because of Wilbekin’s efforts. After watching this team win a close game against an outstanding Kansas team in the O-Dome. I truly believe this team would be undefeated if it weren’t for having 7 players available during the Wisconsin and Connecticut game. Expect big things to come from this team for the rest of the season.