There has been little positive news for the Florida Gators early in the 2013-14 campaign as an avalanche of injuries and suspensions wiped out the promise of roster depth the team believed it would have this season.
Fortunately for Florida, a major piece of the puzzle is about to come into place as two sources – one close to the player and another close to the program – told OnlyGators.com over the past few days that five-star forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL) is scheduled to join the Gators and report to the team for the first time next week for practice, no later than Saturday, Dec. 14.
Walker, a 2013 commitment who did not academically qualify to join the team in the fall, has completed his required coursework online and achieved the necessary grades for enrollment. He is in the process of being admitted to the University of Florida for the spring semester but is awaiting complete approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
That is expected to be a formality at this point with one source indicating he is already in the process of being academically cleared by the NCAA and accepted into UF.
Contrary to a report from ESPN’s Andy Katz on Monday that stated Walker was still working to earn an extra half of a credit that he needed, the player has been done with his academic work for weeks and is currently spending his days getting in shape while practicing on his own in nearby Ocala, FL.
It will be up to head coach Billy Donovan when Walker plays his first game with the Gators. He is expecting to start practicing with the team on Dec. 14. The first game after he joins the program will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 17 when Florida faces Memphis as part of the Jimmy V. Classic in New York NY.
When Walker does play, he will provide immediate depth in the frontcourt behind seniors Will Yeguete and Patric Young. It is unlikely he sees more than 10-15 minutes per game when Donovan first puts him on the court. His minutes would increase as he gets into the swing of things and becomes more familiar with the program.