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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

New Florida commit Chris Walker: ‘We will win a national championship’

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

In addition to pledging to join AAU teammate and fellow class of 2013 recruit Kasey Hill at Florida next year, highly touted forward Chris Walker also made another promise in the YouTube video he posted Sunday morning.

Walker says he and Hill won't leave Florida without some jewelry for their ring fingers.

"Together we will be the best duo in college and we will win a national championship," Walker said. "You heard it here first."

Such bravado probably isn't wise from a player still 15 months away from even donning a Florida jersey for the first time, but Walker's commitment is significant enough to give the Gators hope of proving him right. At the very least, it silences those who criticized Florida coach Billy Donovan for not being able to land a much-needed big man in the Class of 2012.

Walker, a Florida native and Rivals.com's No. 6 player in the Class of 2013, has been the Gators' top target for several years. The athletic 6-foot-9 forward will help fill the void in the paint created by the likely departures of rising junior Patric Young and rising senior Erik Murphy.

With Walker and Hill arriving for the 2013-14 season and transfers Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith also set to become eligible, Florida may have as good an influx of talent that year as any team in the nation. Add in a guard-heavy 2012 recruiting class and a handful of veteran role players, and the Gators should be in position to contend both in the SEC and nationally.

Unless Young unexpectedly decides to return for his senior season, the starting frontcourt would probably be Walker and Harris, a transfer from South Carolina who averaged 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season. Hill, Scottie Wilbekin and Finney-Smith would be an early guess for the starters at point guard, shooting guard and small forward, though 2012 recruits Michael Frazier or Dillon Graham could easily prove they're ready to nab one of the wing positions by then.

The other thing that Walker's commitment ensures is that the meeting between SEC rivals Florida and Kentucky will be one of the most anticipated games of the 2013-14 season. Not only will the Gators and Wildcats likely both be in the national title hunt that season, Walker has also voiced his displeasure multiple times that Kentucky decided not to offer him a scholarship.

It will be up to Walker now to make Kentucky pay. And to make good on his promise to Florida fans that he and Hill will be bringing the school another national championship.

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