The add/drop deadline for the fall semester at the University of Florida fell on Tuesday and, according to the registrar’s office, 6-foot-10 Gators freshman Chris Walker is not enrolled, meaning he will not play during the first semester.
The McDonald’s All-American out of Holmes County (Fla.) High School has reportedly been taking three online classes in an effort to reach the NCAA Division I level’s minimum requirement for freshman eligibility.
Walker will now look to finish the coursework and become eligible once Florida’s first semester ends on Dec. 13. Theoretically, under that timetable, Walker could suit up on Dec. 17 when the Gators take on Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic. That game is slated for a 9 p.m. tip at Madison Square Garden and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
The absence of the super-athletic power forward can be overcome by the Gators, who have been to three straight Elite Eights and return enough firepower in the frontcourt where they can be in the mix deep into March again.
Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech) and Damontre Harris (South Carolina) are both eligible to play after sitting a year following their respective transfers, while Patric Young and Casey Prather are both back as seniors.
With Walker’s status in a holding pattern for now, the bigger question mark is in the backcourt where 6-foot-2 senior Scottie Wilbekin remains suspended thanks to a violation of team rules earlier this summer.
Gators head coach Billy Donovan told USA Today last week that while Wilbekin remains suspended, he does expect him to play this season.
The Gators boast 6-foot-1 freshman and McDonald’s All-American Kasey Hill, while 6-foot-2 Rutgers junior transfer Eli Carter is expected to receive a transfer waiver from the NCAA to play immediately after bolting Piscataway during the Mike Rice fiasco.