Florida coach Billy Donovan said he remains confident that freshman point guard Braxton Ogbueze will flourish as a college player.
But with starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin suspended, the 6-foot, 182-pound Ogbueze didn’t see much time backing up Kenny Boynton in UF’s 74-56 win over No. 22 Wisconsin. Ogbueze played just 3 minutes and was pulled following a timeout without even bringing the ball fully up the floor early in the second half.
“I have confidence in Braxton,” Donovan said. “I have confidence in all of those (freshmen), I think they are great kids, they still have a lot to learn but they are eager to learn and get better.”
Boynton played 37 minutes and senior guard Mike Rosario played 39 minutes against the Badgers. After the game, Donovan admitted he played Boynton too many minutes.
Donovan said one of the reasons Ogbueze didn’t play more had to due with UF’s limited rotation. With Wilbekin and Casey Prather (concussion) out against Wisconsin, Donovan didn’t want to get into too many situations where three freshmen where on the court at the same time.
“(I’m) trying to put those freshmen in position where they have an opportunity to be successful on the court,” Donovan said. “It’s a lot for Braxton or any freshman to come in without a lot of older guys on the floor. It’s not good for our team if we have Braxton, Michael Frazier and DeVon Walker on the floor together at the same time, there’s too much inexperience.”
“That’s not to say that Braxton with three older guys and a younger guy with him wouldn’t be more effective. With the way the game was going in the first half, after that first TV timeout it got up to 15, 16 and then they cut it back down to 12. … It’s a little bit different playing in a game when the score is 47-9 (vs. Alabama State) and the game is not in jeopardy so to speak, 12 point game, 15 minutes to go the game was still in jeopardy. That was probably more my decision than anything else.”
Ogbueze, a Charlotte, N.C., native, was the highest-rated recruit of UF’s incoming four freshman (No. 50 in ESPNU Top 100). When Ogbueze committed to UF in March of 2011, ESPN national recruiting analyst Dave Telep raved about his strength and mid-range shooting ability as a combo guard.
“Billy Donovan stole a player out of Carolina country, under the nose of (North Carolina coach) Roy Williams and (Duke coach) Mike Krzyzweski,” Telep said. “He has a chance to be a very good college player.”
After scoring 16 points in UF’s exhibition win over Nebraska-Kearney, Ogbueze is averaging 3.5 ppg and 2.5 rpg in two regular season games. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 0 to 2.