It was a surprising end – or beginning – to the senior class that led the most successful four years in Florida basketball history. Patric Young, Scottie Wilbekin, Casey Prather, and Will Yeguete all didn’t get to hear the satisfaction of hearing their name called during the 2014 NBA Draft.
Young was the biggest surprise as he was projected to go in the first round in some mock drafts, but mostly in the second round. He was also projected as a lottery pick after his freshman season, but chose an education over the NBA riches. Wilbekin and Prather were both expected to go undrafted. Yeguete returned to his native France and will most likely pursue a professional basketball career there if at all.
Each player had their shortcomings but all four played exceptional defense, something that may be a bit undervalued at the NBA level. Young’s knees and offensive touch, Wilbekin’s off the court issues, and Prather’s shooting ability likely all contributed to them being undrafted. But when you put all of them together, it was a wonderful thing to behold. It’s a testament to how good Billy Donovan has become as a coach.
Now each player controls his own destiny. They can sign as an undrafted free agent and hopefully catch on through Summer League success and eventually on an NBA squad. They can pick the destination that works the best for themselves.
My heart goes out to them. They put everything they had into their four years at Florida, never settling for less than the Elite Eight and going to the 2014 Final Four. They won a school-record 120 games together and gave us some incredible winning streaks, some that are still current. It’s sad to me that players who value an education and choose school over millions of dollars don’t always get rewarded. But Prather, Wilbekin, Yeguete, and Young all have something those one-and-doners don’t: A degree. If it’s any solace to these four, this NBA Draft was the deepest in years.
Good luck to the greatest senior class in Gators history and the Gator Nation is hoping you sign on somewhere and find great success. But even if a professional basketball career doesn’t work out, it doesn’t take anything away from what you accomplished. Thank you once again and for the last time for an incredible run. It goes without saying, you’ll be Gators Always.