Florida sophomore forward/center Chris Walker will be suspended for three games to begin the 2014-15 season due to a violation of team rules, Billy Donovan said Wednesday at a season-opening press conference.
Walker will "probably" be suspended for Florida's exhibition, per Donovan, and would subsequently also sit for Florida's opener against William and Mary, and an early-season clash with in-state foe Miami. He would first be eligible to play for the Gators either for a game against Louisiana-Monroe, or, if Walker is suspended for three regular season contests, their opening game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament against Georgetown in the Bahamas over the week of Thanksgiving.
As always with a three-game suspension handed down to a Florida basketball player, it's worth pointing out that a three-game suspension is consistent with the 10 percent of a season a Gators student-athlete must miss for a second violation of the UAA's drug testing policy.
Walker is a mortal lock to enter the 2015 NBA Draft, so future violations of that drug testing policy might not be all that worrisome for him, but a hypothetical third violation of that policy would cost Walker another 20 percent — six games — of his last season at Florida, and would cost the Gators dearly.
Without Walker, Florida will be undersized early on, likely relying on Michigan transfer Jon Horford to play heavy minutes at center instead of at a more natural stretch four position. Dorian Finney-Smith is also likely to contribute inside.