By JACK LeGWINSpecial to ZAGSBLOG Chris Walker made his long-awaited debut Tuesday night in a 68-58 win over Missouri and helped to stretch Florida’s home winning streak to 28.
The ultra-athletic Walker had 4 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks in 7 minutes of action, which included two big alley-oops thrown from former Florida Rams AAU teammate Kasey Hill.
Walker is projected as a first-round pick in Chad Ford’s 2014 Mock Draft, and also as 2015 first-rounder by DraftExpress.com.
After joining the team in December and then having to sit 12 games because of an NCAA-mandated suspension related to impermissible benefits, Walker didn’t look too out of place out on the court. The tremendous length that comes with his 6-foot-10 frame will help the Gators as the season continues.
“We’re happy he’s with us,” Scottie Wilbekin told David Jones from USA Today after the win. “He came in and did his job. He helped us in the way he can help us.”
Playing alongside big men Patric Young, Casey Prather and Will Yeguete, Walker doesn’t need to be an All-American right off of the bat, and Coach Billy Donovan assures fans that won’t be the case.
“I think there was a lot of attention on Chris because he was not part of our team, he was separated from our team,” Donovan said. “I don’t think Chris Walker’s expectations are to walk out there and play 30 minutes and start.”Still, Walker did look good, and he showed that he could be a piece that could help the Gators as they approach March.
PHOTO- Kim Klement, USA Today
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.