Florida Gators sophomore center Chris Walker, a highly-touted five-star prospect that has struggled to make an impact in the college ranks, is not expected to return to the team next season, multiple sources told Scout.com‘s Evan Daniels.
According to Daniels, Walker has not decided whether to transfer to another program or play professionally, but the end result will be the termination of his career at Florida.
Ranked as one of the top 10 players in the country coming out of Bonifay High School, Walker struggled to become academically eligible for the Gators as a true freshman. He worked diligently on his grades during the offseason and earned that eligibility for the 2013-14 spring semester but missed additional games while working through an NCAA rules violation.
Coming off the bench for a Florida team that made it to the Final Four, Walker averaged just 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game that season. He was expected to truly develop in the offseason ahead of the 2014-15 campaign and play a major role for a Gators team in drastic need of frontcourt help.
Instead, Walker missed the first two games of the regular season while suspended for a violation of team rules and failed to show any consistency on the court, averaging 4.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game despite being one of two centers on the roster. His inability to develop and become the post presence that UF needed was one reason for the team’s struggles last season.
Multiple sources told OnlyGators.com at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season that Walker’s future at Florida was up in the air. The player never planned to spend more than two years with the Gators, but his struggles to comprehend his coaches’ desires, coupled with his overall lack of production, led him to understand that he probably needs more fine-tuning before trying his hand at playing the game professionally – either in the United States or overseas.
Additionally, multiple sources also told OnlyGators.com that multiple non-basketball factors – including academics – would heavily influence his decision at season’s end, whether it be to try and earn trust back at Florida, move to another program or pursue a professional career.
A program spokesman told multiple outlets that asked for comment that head coach Billy Donovan plans to meet with Walker when he returns to Gainesville, Florida, as Donovan is currently out recruiting and not on campus.
Walker joined the Gators with an AAU teammate and fellow five-star prospect in point guard Kasey Hill. His potential departure would leave Florida with the fourth open scholarship it needs to sign its entire 2015 recruiting class.
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