Florida's Chris Walker might be academically ineligible

USA TODAY Sports

One of Florida's top recruits of the class of 2013 might not see the court until later in the season because of academic issues with the NCAA.

Chris Walker, the jewel of the Florida Gators' recruiting class, might not be able to play until December due to academic concerns, Kevin Brockway of the Gainesville Sun reported on Monday.

Walker, ranked No. 6 by Rivals.com and No. 12 by ESPN, committed to the Gators in 2012, but doesn't have enough credits to meet NCAA academic standards. As of Monday night, Walker isn't listed on the Gators' roster.

The University of Florida's add/drop period for fall semester classes runs until Aug. 27, but it seems unlikely that Walker will make that due date. Last month, Billy Donovan told Brockway that he wanted to make sure Walker meets his academic goals properly.

"The one thing that we've tried to explain to him in the work that he's finishing up in doing is he doesn't need to rush it," Florida coach Billy Donovan said last month. "He just needs to do it correctly and the right way."

Without Walker in the frontcourt, the Gators are still more than capable of holding their own. But, his absence will be sorely missed during Florida's non-conference schedule, which looks to be one of the tougher slates in recent years. The Gators have games against Kansas, Connecticut, Memphis and Wisconsin lined up before SEC play starts.

As Alligator Army says, the only thing Gator Nation can do is hold its breath and hope Walker meets NCAA academic eligibility to enroll in classes for Florida's spring term, which would make Walker eligible to play in December.

The worst-case scenario, though, is Walker not getting eligible in December, and thus not for the spring. That might prompt him to think about leaving for the NBA, where he's a projected lottery pick, before ever suiting up for the Gators. If Walker does get eligible, it might make more sense for him to stay for the 2014-15 season, at least, as he's going to get a taste of what he can be at the college level, and learn better what he needs to work on to make it as a pro.

Until then, the Gators will rely on senior forwards Will Yeguete and Casey Prather, with Virginia Tech transfer Dorian Finney-Smith to help out as well.

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