Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Chris Walker, a 6-foot-10 freshman at Florida, has been cleared to play next Tuesday against Missouri by the NCAA.
Walker will have missed 12 games dating to when he began practice in December — 40 percent of his season — due to him accepting cellphones, airfare, lodging and more while a prospect. He will have to donate $270 to a charity and serve 80 hours of community service.
When he returns, though, Florida coach Billy Donovan doesn’t expect any miracles.
“People are talking about Chris Walker like he’s going to become eligible and be the savior of the program,” Donovan said after the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in December.
“He’s a high school player who hasn’t played competitive basketball since the end of February last year.”
Donovan said that he will not redshirt Walker, but he’s worried about the player that’s going to take the court.
“My biggest fear for Chris is you have a highly exposed player and sometimes when a guy isn’t playing the ‘legend of Chris Walker’ grows greater than who he really is,” he said on Monday.
Walker is a McDonald’s All-American currently projected as the No. 10 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.com.
Chad Ford has Walker as the No. 20 pick in the 2014 Draft.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.