Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/8/12
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - One of the first things Florida coach Billy Donovan did upon boarding the USS Bataan was ask about touring the gun turret. Forget the wind, the open-air backdrop, the chilly temperatures and potential court condensation. This was bigger than basketball, and Donovan knew it. "To be on this ship, sharing a moment like this, means more than I can ever express," Donovan said. No. 10 Florida and Georgetown were thrilled to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime event - Friday night's season opener on the deck of an amphibious assault ship. Both teams toured the 844-foot Bataan on Thursday, posing for pictures and talking to everyone wearing a uniform and taking part in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. Donovan even invited three former Navy basketball players assigned to the Bataan to help run shoot-around. Georgetown coach John Thompson III was equally taken back. "For these kids to get the opportunity to come here and meet the sailors and the Marines that are on the Bataan," said Thompson, "most of them, if not all of them, would never get this opportunity. Georgetown is a learning institute; that's part of our job." Donovan handled a much different part of the job Thursday. He suspended starting point guard Scottie Wilbekin indefinitely for an undisclosed reason. Donovan declined to divulge what the 6-foot-2 junior did, but said it wasn't anything criminal or anything that would be considered an NCAA violation. Donovan said "information was brought to me" early Thursday that led to the suspension. "You've got a group of 12 other guys that are looking to see how a coach is going to respond with what's right and what's wrong," Donovan said. "This was the right decision to have him not be a part of this game because he needs to understand there's a level of accountability and responsibility that he has being part of this team. "It's important for our guys to understand there's a commitment you have to make each and every day - on the court, off the court, in school and in every aspect of your life." The Gators, who have won 21 consecutive season openers, also will be without swingman Casey Prather. He sustained his second concussion in nine days this week. Throw in the unexpected departure of forward Cody Larson last month and Florida will be playing with five returning players and four freshmen against Georgetown. "He has enough pieces where he can quickly substitute and make changes," Thompson said. "They're down two quality players, and all that means is two other quality players are going to get minutes." Coaches have plenty of other worries. Temperatures were expected to dip into the 50s and wind could be a factor. Plus, there's a chance condensation would build and cause slippery conditions on the outdoor court. "Whether there's wind or how the lighting is, both teams are going to have to be dealing with that," Donovan said. "I don't think anybody gets an advantage. ... The only thing that could interrupt the game is if you've got guys slipping and sliding like an ice skating rink." Officials tested the court Wednesday night and found no issues. Just to be safe, though, they will have more than a dozen workers drying the court during timeouts. "I'm telling my guys it's not going to affect you at all," Thompson said. "The backdrop's not going to affect you, the weather's not going to affect you. That's how we're approaching it." Kind of a "Hoosiers" speech? "We're going to get (a tape measure)," Thompson added. Georgetown was picked to finish fifth in the Big East preseason coaches' poll after losing seniors Jason Clark and Henry Sims, along with early departing junior Hollis Thompson. They were the team's three leading scorers last season, accounting for 38.4 points per game, 56 percent of the Hoyas' output. While expectations are down a bit for a Georgetown program coming off a 24-9 season, they're very high for Florida following back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament regional final. Top scorer Kenny Boynton is back looking to help the Gators improve upon last season's 26-11 mark. Florida and Georgetown haven't played since the NCAA tournament's round of 16 in 2006, a game the Gators won on Corey Brewer's circus shot in the final minute. That victory helped Florida get to the Final Four, where the Gators won the first of back-to-back national championships. Playing on the Bataan could be even more memorable. "This is a game that is bigger in my opinion than any game we've had the opportunity to play," Donovan said.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Josh Gordon 'on thin ice' with 'weary' Browns

Report: Junior Galette out for season with torn Achilles

Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin in war of words over 'disrespect'

Report: CJ McCollum agrees to max contract with Blazers

McCarthy not worried about Matthews, Peppers PED claims

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Florida QB Treon Harris to transfer

Jiu-jitsu athlete says he was kidnapped in Rio by men dressed as police

49ers’ Anthony Davis officially applies for reinstatement

Jordan speaks out against shootings, donates $2 million

Report: Cromartie may be forced to retire due to hip issue

Greg Jennings announces retirement from NFL

Cubs to acquire Aroldis Chapman from Yankees

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

A too early preview of UEFA World Cup 2018 qualifying

Blues GM: Team may take step back before moving forward

Jason Williams calls Barkley a 'loser' for Durant criticism

Four potential challengers for Amanda Nunes' belt

Kevin Owes vs. Sami Zayn: An instance classic

Jags GM: Greg Hardy workout was to 'do our homework'

White Sox refused to tip Mariners’ clubhouse attendants in protest of new policy

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker