Another UF basketball player to transfer
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 6, 2013 at 12:19 p.m.
DeVon Walker's brief Florida basketball career is over.
Walker is transferring after one season, becoming the second UF basketball player from the 2012 class to leave the program in a span of six days.
The 6-foot-6 Walker played sparingly as a freshman, scoring 20 points with 17 rebounds and four blocked shots. Walker averaged just four minutes per game.
“DeVon has a bright future, and we hope for the best for him wherever he chooses to go,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said.
Walker told the Lakeland Ledger that the main reason he left UF was due to playing time. When Walker told coaches of his decision to transfer last week, they asked him to take more time and reconsider.
“That was the plan, for me to stay,” Walker told the Ledger's Aimee Sachs. “But after further thinking away from everybody and their opinions, I had time to think alone with my family. … It was on my mind after the season. It was on my mind and I was back and forth. Today was the last word.”
On Monday, Walker tweeted his own farewell: “One of the best years of my life. New friends, new experiences, & new knowledge. Thankful for the opportunity at UF. Goodbye.”
At just 191 pounds, Walker struggled adapting to more physical play in the SEC. With forward Casey Prather injured late in a game against Tennessee, Walker was pressed into emergency duty late and had rebounds stripped out of his hands by more physical Vol players.
Walker projected to play next season behind sophomore transfer forward Dorian Finney-Smith (6-8) and Prather (6-6).
Coming out of high school, Walker had offers from Alabama, Connecticut, UCF and Kansas State. But he chose to enroll at Florida because he wanted to play close to home. Walker said he's open to playing anywhere as long as it's a winning program that gives him more opportunities to play on the wing.
Walker roomed this season with former point guard Braxton Ogbueze, who also left UF last week due to playing time issues. Walker said his decision had nothing to do with Ogbueze's transfer.
“A lot of people may think that, but no, that wasn't the reason,” Walker told the Ledger.
The Gators have had seven players transfer since 2009, a list that includes Ogbueze (undecided), Allan Chaney (Virginia Tech, High Point), Kenny Kadji (Miami), Eloy Vargas (Miami Dade College, Kentucky), Ray Shipman (UCF) and Walter Pitchford (Nebraska).
Forward Cody Larson also left the program last fall for personal reasons, but hasn't decided to resume his basketball career. In 2010, after one season at UF, guard Nimrod Tishman left the program to play professionally in his native Israel.
Guards Michael Frazier and Dillon Graham are UF's only two remaining players from the 2012 class. But Florida will stay deep in the backcourt with the addition of incoming freshman McDonald's All-American point guard Kasey Hill and Rutgers transfer Eli Carter.
With both Walker and Ogbueze gone, Florida now 11 of 13 scholarship spots filled for the 2013-14 season.
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.
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