Another draft season, another day that a prospect makes a big mistake in declaring himself eligible. This time, according to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, that young man is Florida Gators sophomore forward and former five-star recruit Chris Walker.
Though he was a top ten prospect and McDonald’s All-American coming out of Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Florida, just 46 miles north of Panama City Beach, Walker’s game fell flat on the collegiate level.
In two seasons with the Gators, he averaged just 9.7 minutes per game and posted only 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest. He managed to shoot well from the field, putting up a mark of 56.5 percent, but the numbers as a whole are unacceptable for someone 6-foot-10, 220 pounds and also played in the McDonald’s All-American Game with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle and the Harrison twins.
Even worse is that after not joining the team until December his freshman year, Walker couldn’t even crack the rotation of a Florida squad that made the Final Four and went undefeated in SEC play.
As a sophomore, he drew a three-game suspension and was practically a non-factor in the Gators’ lost season.
And yet, Walker still insists on joining this year’s incredibly deep draft class instead of transferring to another program so that he can rebuild his stock from the ground up. Barring making an incredible impression on scouts and executives at workouts, he’ll be in for a rude awakening.
Granted, that could easily be because nobody expected Walker to enter this year’s NBA draft. Just the same, if he’s going to get himself onto those big boards and prove himself worthy, he’s going to have his work cut out for him.
The fact that he couldn’t get significant playing time under a coach as phenomenal as Billy Donovan, a man with two national titles to his name and one who has coached a myriad number of NBA players like Joakim Noah, David Lee, Bradley Beal and Chandler Parsons, among many others, is a testament to just how bad an idea it is for him to turn professional at this point.
Thus, if Billy Donovan wouldn’t put up with him, what makes him think that NBA coaches will?
Granted, he was able to average about 20 minutes per game in his lone season at Kansas, but injuries and an NCAA suspension kept him from making enough of an impact as a freshman and living up to his true potential.
In spite of all of that, he entered the 2011 draft and was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round. Today, after averaging just shy of eight minutes per contest in 38 games played over two seasons, Selby is playing in Israel for Bnei Herzliya.
Walker is about to make that same mistake.
Hopefully for his sake, he has not yet hired an agent. On top of that, here’s hoping that he gets his head on straight and realizes that he won’t be drafted on potential alone, but whether or not he can contribute immediately, so transferring to a different program is a better option for him than the mistake of prematurely entering the draft.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports