For Chris Walker, the frustration of sitting on the bench, powerless to help his teammates in the heat of battle, while knowing the NCAA bigwigs who control his fate just stand there with their hands mindlessly down their pants, is over. For Gator fans, the long wait to finally see the crown jewel of Billy Donovan’s last recruiting class, Chris Walker, in action, is over. For the current Florida Gators basketball team members, the misery of their good buddy and teammate, is over. For Billy Donovan, the days of drawing up game plans without Walker involved, and wondering when he’d ever get to use him in action, are over.
But most importantly, to Mississippi, Kentucky and Missouri fans, your chances of winning the SEC are, you guessed it, over.
I suppose even a broken clock is right twice a day, and even though the NCAA manages to you-know-what up more often than Justin Bieber, they finally did the right thing and lifted the suspension of Florida’s highly touted freshman, Chris Walker. He’ll be able to play on February 4th against Missouri. I’m not going to spend much more of this post bashing or fighting the NCAA, because the rest of the world does that for me. I’m not the one who created the term “National Communists Against Athletes”, and I’m not the one of the guys on the Northwestern union. Of course, everybody in one of the above categories is 100% right in what they say and do, but I’m not going to harp on it beyond simply pointing out the fact that the NCAA’s percentage of making the right decision isn’t even a good number for bowling.
What I am going to focus on is Walker’s potential, and possibly immediate, impact.
He’s pretty big for a power forward (6’10 and 205 lbs), and has incredible natural talent and athleticism. Expect him to instantly help out in cleaning up the boards on both sides of the court. In essence, he’s built a little bit like Patric Young (6’9 and 240), and while perhaps not quite as strong as Young, I expect him to get some of the same plays run for him as Billy D runs for Young.
But that’s not all Walker can do. He can shoot really well from three-point land for a guy that big, and he can more or less create his own shot in one-on-one situations from as far as 15 feet out. He’s got a decent baby hook shot, and maybe with practice and repetition, he can develop a good one, if not a great one. Finally, because of his quickness and length, he’s a serious threat to block shots, in a vein similar to Jarvis Varnado from Mississippi State a few years back.
The one knock against Walker is that he takes plays off, according to all the scouting reports, but since highlight films only show the good plays, and not the bad ones, I can’t verify that. However, that’s not a good reputation to have, even for somebody this naturally gifted, or perhaps especially for somebody this gifted. I guess we’ll have to see how that goes as time goes by.
In any case, I’m thrilled to get him back, and keeping in mind how good Florida has been without him (17-2 and #3 in the country), I can’t wait to see how dominant the Gators are with him.