When Chris Walker became eligible to practice with Florida last Saturday, there was much optimism surrounding the five-star prospect.
And then practice began.
Walker was thoroughly dominated by senior big man Patric Young – but head coach Billy Donovan wasn't disappointed or surprised.
It was expected, according to Donovan.
“He's a high school player who hasn't played competitive basketball since the end of February,” he said after Tuesday's win over Memphis.
“Being in school the past three days, people are talking about him like he's going to be a savior. He's so far behind.”
Walker, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Holmes County (Fla.), was ranked No. 7 in the 247Sports Composite for the class of 2013. He wasn't eligible academically for the first semester, but was cleared to practice over the weekend. He still is not eligible to play in games yet.
Does Florida need Walker? Although South Carolina transfer Damontre Harris is likely not ever going to play for the Gators, Donovan has plenty of options up front. Seniors Patric Young and Will Yeguete are solid down low, and Casey Prather has been a revelation at the small forward position. Then there's Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith, who has played all three positions since returning from suspension.
Florida is 8-2, with three games remaining before SEC play: Fresno State, Savannah State and Richmond.