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Former Gators point guard starts NBA summer-league play

Wilbekin averages 17.5 minutes

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 12:05 am

Despite everything Scottie Wilbekin has accomplished throughout his basketball career, none of it guarantees him an NBA roster spot.

The former Florida point guard is attempting to prove himself on the biggest stage through Orlando’s NBA summer league with the Memphis Grizzlies, but it’s been an unfamiliar situation.

Since going undrafted in last month’s 2014 NBA Draft, Wilbekin has played two games and is averaging one point, 3.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds.

Compare that to his first two games for Florida coming off a suspension last season when he averaged 9.5 points and 7.5 assists, Wilbekin hasn’t shown an immediate impact like he has in the past.

On Sunday, Wilbekin said that there’s a lot of talent and that it’s definitely notable out there on the court, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“It’s a bit of an adjustment getting used to the minutes, because everybody on all of the teams here (have played) more than they do here,” Wilbekin said.

Wilbekin is fifth on the Memphis squad averaging 17.5 minutes and has started one of his two games played.

Although playing on a higher level and not seeing his senior-like numbers at Florida (13.1 points), Wilbekin is flourishing in certain areas.

It isn’t always about statistics and Wilbekin has continued to prove and display his basketball IQ.

Grizzlies’ summer-league coach Shawn Respert said Wilbekin plays with a pace that he thinks is healthy for a successful basketball team, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“He’s going to be a guy that if you look in our league six or seven years down the road, he’s going to be an important part of a team that’s winning,” Respert said.

Respert added that he’s really proud of how Wilbekin has handled himself and that the former UF point guard is going to be very successful.

The 6-foot-3, 168-pound guard has always been relentless defensively with full-court presses and sacrificing his body, and he has continued to show that throughout the summer league.

The undrafted free agent has continued to apply those principles as summer-league teammate and former Tennessee power forward Jarnell Stokes has noticed.

Stokes gives Wilbekin the nickname of “Tennessee killer,” after Florida defeated Tennessee three times last season. Stokes said he is also glad to be Wilbekin’s teammate instead of an opponent.

Stokes said Wilbekin makes his job as a big man a lot easier on defense because of Wilbekin’s quick feet.

Receiving some praise after what he has performed thus far from coaches and teammates, the former Gator is in a greater position than he was after draft night.

But what can make things even better is if he can perform at an exceptional level with more minutes.

According to the Grizzlies, shooting guard Jordan Adams, who was the team’s first-round pick, signed a multi-year agreement Monday.

With Adams securing a spot on the Grizzlies roster, Wilbekin may have a better chance at showcasing his abilities in the final two summer league games in Orlando before heading out for a stint with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Wilbekin is scheduled to play against Orlando today at 3 p.m. He will then play on Thursday against Houston at 7 p.m.

Follow Lawrence Laguna on Twitter @LagunaLawrence

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