The deadline for Florida students to enroll in fall semester classes expired Tuesday without the school's most celebrated basketball recruit signing up.
Forward Chris Walker, a McDonald's All-American and consensus top 10 recruit, did not complete the necessary coursework in time to be eligible for fall semester by the NCAA's minimum academic standards. The Gainesville Sun reported earlier this summer that Walker needed to complete three online courses prior to the start of the semester in order to be eligible.
There's still a chance Walker could join the Gators in mid-December if he is able to finish his schoolwork by then. Under that scenario, he'd be eligible to practice Dec. 13 and to play Dec. 17 when Florida meets Memphis in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
The prolonged absence of an elite recruit like Walker would be crushing for most teams, but Florida has the frontcourt depth to negate the loss of the 6-foot-9 freshman and still contend in the SEC and nationally.
Returning from last season are 6-foot-9 center Patric Young and 6-foot-7 forward Will Yeguete, the former a three-year starter at center and the latter a standout defender and crafty rebounder. They'll be pushed for playing time by a pair of transfers, promising ex-top 100 recruit Dorian Finney-Smith from Virginia Tech and center Damontre Harris from South Carolina.
It will be Yeguete and Finney-Smith whose roles increase the most with Walker out. Neither arrived with the hype and accolades Walker did, but the combination of those two is more than capable of stabilizing the Florida frontcourt in his absence.