Scottie Wilbekin gets his act together

"I think it says a lot about him that deep down inside he cared enough about our program, he cared enough about his teammates and he cared enough about us as coaches that he said, 'You know something, this is not who I want to be,'" Donovan said. "The easy thing would have been to say, 'I'm just going to move on.'"

Added Yeguete: "He's matured a lot. He's more vocal now, more consistent on and off the court."

Back in Lexington, minutes after his team had just broken the hearts of Big Blue Nation, Wilbekin smiled as he walked toward the visitors locker room. The Gators hadn't lost in months. And even then, they appeared to possess the tools of a national championship team.

Wilbekin's mistakes nearly cost him this experience, one that could end atop a podium in Arlington, Texas.

"It's a part of my past, but I think I'm a different person because of it," he said, "so in a way, that's a part of me that's no longer there."

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