For almost a month and a half, the Florida men’s basketball team has been playing the waiting game with freshman forward Chris Walker.
Since joining the team on December 14th, Walker has been subject to question by the NCAA for a couple of different reasons beginning with his academic eligibility that lasted until the end of the fall semester at UF and a look into alleged impermissible benefits that lasted up until the middle of this week.
The NCAA officially cleared Walker late Wednesday afternoon and cited the problems that took place with the freshman and what actions he will have to take moving forward. According to the NCAA, Walker will have to pay the total of 270 dollars he received through his agent during his recruitment to any charity of his choosing. In addition Walker will have to complete 80 hours of community service.
But barring those few tasks, Walker, the five star recruit coming out of high school will be able to officially hit the court for head coach Billy Donovan on Tuesday night against the Missouri Tigers in the O’Dome. This will be a huge addition for the Gators as they are currently sitting on an 11 game win streak and have been getting great play out of the backcourt as of late.
With that said, the 6’10” Walker will add another important body to the Gator frontcourt. With center Patric Young and forward Will Yeguete providing the load inside, having that extra body should help and give Donovan another front court piece to insert into games.
On Monday morning, Donovan spoke on his freshman and just how much he has been improving in his time at practice.
“I think the biggest adjustment he’s made is just having a better feel and understanding of what we’re doing offensively and defensively. He’s a really good kid who’s worked hard and is eager to learn and get better.”
Overall, the Gators are getting a huge boost to their team with the addition of Walker. Despite missing the first 21 games of the season, Walker will get a chance to help this team as the most important time of the year approaches.
With the recent news, the O’Dome will sure to be packed on Tuesday night as every Gator fan looks to see Walker on the court for the first time. With the excitement this young man is sure to bring, the entire country will be looking to see just what the Gators will have in store come March.