JACKSONVILLE -- Florida coach Billy Donovan said during Thursday's luncheon aboard the USS Bataan in Mayport that point guard Scottie Wilbekin has been suspended for the season opener at 9 p.m. today against Georgetown for disciplinary reasons he declined to disclose.
Donovan added the suspension isn't necssary for just the one game but did add that there had been nothing legal done against Wilbekin, Donovan said, "Not now.'' He aded it wasn't an NCAA issue.
He added that guard Casey Prather, who has had two concussions in the last two weeks and three in his career, is also out for the game although he did attend the event.
Wilbekin, a junior, was supposed to take the starting job vacated by the departure of four-year standout Erving Walker. But Donovan was uncertain who will start in his place. One possibility is freshman guard Michael Frazier, who played well in the exhibition game last week. UF could also go big with Will Yeguete opening the game at forward.
Donovan said Wilbekin, "Did some things that I'm not going to have him a part off.'' He said it was his decision to suspended the 19-year-old.
"I think he's got to grow and mature and that's what college is for,'' Donovan said.
Donovan said he was concerned that the suspension cast a bad light on Wilbekin, who he actually feels is a good person.
As for the game, Donovan is concerned how players will handle the cold weather, sitting on the bench then trying to warm back up. Heaters behind the benches could help. Hoyas coach John Thompson III said he didn't do anything unusual to prepart for the conditions.
"This is going to be different,'' Donovan said. "Guys have probably never done anything like this before.''
The impact the wind could have on 3-point shooting, Donovan predicts, could lead to a lot of fastbreak points, driving and inside play.
"It definitely could upset shooting,'' guard Kenny Boynton said. "The wind could be a big factor.''
The team had a shoot around on the ship Thursday and was to spend time with the military. Donovan noted it was a "different feeling'' to meet U.S. troops serving overseas and good for the players.
"I'm very appreciative (of the troops) and to get the opportunity to play in front of them,'' said Patric Young, a Jacksonville native.
Added Boynton: I think it's a priviledge for us to meet them. It's a once in a lifetime thing."
Donovan called it a game "bigger than any we've been in'' because it was being played for the troops. He said playing in the game meant "more than I can ever express.''
Thompson III said of his own team being in the game played aboard the USS Bataan, "This game is different, it is truely special and it has nothing to do with the opportunity to play against the University of Florida.''
((Article written by David Jones of Florida Today, a Gannett Company))