Based on his disappointing sophomore season, it’s hard to think of Florida sophomore center Chris Walker as an NBA draft pick.
But the 6-foot-10 Walker could still decide to leave at the end of the season and take a gamble, hoping to get selected based on his athletic potential and upside.
Either way, Florida coach Billy Donovan said he would support Walker.
“During the season, it’s all about our team,” Donovan said. “Once the year ends, it gets back to the individuals in terms of what’s best for them and what they want to do. Whatever decision Chris decided to make or doesn’t make at the end of the year, I’m going to support him because certainly I supported him when he came here, and if he made a decision after the year was over to leave, I’d support him there too.”
Walker has been up-and-down for the Gators this season, averaging 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. How far has the stock of the former McDonald’s All-American fallen? Last fall, the website Draftexpress.com projected Walker as the 11th overall pick in the 2015 NBA mock draft. In Draftexpress’s latest 2015 mock draft, Walker is not listed in the top two rounds (interestingly enough, Florida junior guard Michael Frazier II is projected in the second round as the 53rd overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks).
Walker followed up a 12-point, 4 rebound performance at Alabama with just 1 point, 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers against Arkansas. Donovan says Walker needs to develop a more consistent work ethic to become a more consistent player.
“Until that happens it will always be up and down with him,” Donovan said.
— Donovan is not a big fan of playing non-conference games in the middle of the conference schedule. But he understands why the league has decided to move next season’s SEC-Big 12 Challenge in the middle of conference play on Jan. 30. “This was another way to bring more exposure to our league and also the Big 12 as well,” Donovan said. “That’s kind of what the sales pitch in.” By playing the first week in December, league officials felt the SEC-Big 12 Challenge was overshadowed not just by the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, but by the week leading up to the SEC football championship as well. “Sometimes, what’s best for the league is not best for this individual institution or that one,” Donovan said. “You have to do what’s best for the league and that’s what we’re trying to do.”