The Florida Gators are primed for another deep run in March. This year, they will be anchored by Patric Young on the low block. Many around the college basketball world question if Young can handle having the offense run through him and having more of spotlight in his senior season.
Young will have plenty of help on the Gators frontcourt with Will Yeguete and Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith becoming eligible this season. Finney-Smith held his own practicing with last year’s squad that returned to the Elite Eight for the third time in a row. His addition will be an immediate impact for head coach Billy Donovan.
The Gators have a plethora of options, but they seemed to need at least one more frontcourt player for depth. Incoming freshman Chris Walker has been fighting eligibility issues since committing to Florida in late July. ESPN ranked Walker as the 12th-best player in the 2013 class, and the fourth-best at power forward.
Unlike most high-profile recruits, Walker did not transfer to a high profile prep school. Instead, he decided to stay with his local high school and follow their curriculum. Because of that decision, he was unable to take the classes as a freshman and sophomore he needed to meet the NCAA’s requirements.
Now, the 6-foot-10 high school senior is playing some serious catch-up. According to the Gainesville Sun, Walker’s eligibility concerns may last until December:
“He took three online courses over the summer in an effort to complete his core courses. Those grades then need to be reviewed by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Based on his last ACT score (16), Walker needs to finish with a 2.6 GPA or higher to gain initial NCAA eligibility.”
The Gators may not need him due to their already-loaded roster. They would obviously love to have him available at the very start, but that does not look likely. With Will Yeguete being injury-prone and Patric Young being foul-prone, the need for Walker may become greater as the season goes on. This addition to the roster could finally mean a breakthrough to the Final Four, instead of a fourth straight Elite Eight appearance.
If they finally can get over that hump, the sky is the limit for this team.
Brian Lewis is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can add him to your network on Google for more of his work.