Florida's young players feel obligation to win for its seniors
Scottie Wilbekin won't turn 18 until April 5. So he figures he'll have a few more chances to play in the NCAA Tournament.
But Wilbekin, Patric Young, Casey Prather and the other Gator underclassmen for Florida's basketball team this season recognize that this is it for their senior teammates. And they feel a strong sense of obligation to help make sure the Gators have a good run in the tournament.
"It's important to play as hard as we can for those guys because they won't get another chance when this is over,'' Wilbekin said.
"We all understand that we should appreciate this quite a bit because we know Chandler and those guys didn't get here their freshman year,'' freshman Casey Prather said. "I feel like it's a great responsibility for myself to play well because it's their last year, their last go-around.''
The seniors have spent a significant amount of time reminding the young players not to take making the NCAA Tournament for granted.
"We really do appreciate this,'' Young said. "It seems like it was easy this year, the way we got in and we're a 2 seed. But we know it's not always going to be easy.''
For now, it's about taking care of those seniors.
"In those early years, those guys went through a rough time, so we feel like we've got to pay those guys back by winning for them,'' sophomore guard Kenny Boynton said. "And it's the same way with them. We all want to win for each other.''