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DeVon Walker to transfer from Florida after spring graduation

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A once-promising player says farewell after injuries derailed his career.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Redshirt junior guard/forward DeVon Walker will graduate from Florida in the spring and pursue a transfer afterward, he announced via Florida's website on Monday.

After meeting with the Florida coaches Friday, Walker decided he'll transfer to another school at the end of the spring semester. A three-time selection to the All-Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll, Walker is on schedule to graduate in April with a degree in criminology and thus will be eligible to play immediately next season as a graduate-school transfer.

"DeVon is a great kid and we appreciate all he has done for the Gators," Coach Mike White said. "Now, we'll help him any way we can."

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"I'm at peace with it," Walker said of his decision. "It's been a long four years. I've been through lot of things. I've started games, sat out games, won games, lost games and gone to a Final Four. I've been blessed to have been at the University of Florida, but I think next year will rejuvenate me and allow me to experience something new. I'm moving on to the next chapter."

After playing very minimally as a freshman in 2012-13, and initially announcing a transfer before reconsidering his decision, Walker had a fine sophomore season for a reserve guard used primarily for his defense for the team Alligator Army dubbed the Forever Gators, playing lockdown defense in his brief stints off the bench and averaging 2.4 points per game while developing a three-point shot that made him an intriguing piece of Billy Donovan's future plans in Gainesville.

But a torn ACL suffered in an offseason practice that summer would sideswipe his Gators career. Walker missed the entire 2014-15 season, taking a medical redshirt, and came back in 2015-16 as a shell of his former self, despite a career-high 15 points in Florida's second game, a thorough decimation of overmatched North Carolina A&T. After that game, Walker made more than one shot just once as a redshirt junior, making two against Richmond — and his second make that night would prove to be the last of his Florida career, as Walker went 0-for-21 from the field in 16 appearances after that evening.

Walker played hard and remained a tough defender, but wasn't quite as smothering as in his sophomore season, and with his shot not going in and contributing to what sure looked like an erosion of confidence as an offensive player, he fell out of Mike White's rotation, sitting the bench as KeVaughn Allen rose to give Florida three options at off guard, Devin Robinson continued to command starts alongside Dorian Finney-Smith at forward, and Justin Leon emerged as White's favored guard/forward off the bench.

Walker's transfer, then, comes as no surprise: It's a player who has a year of college basketball left in his career and might want to spend it on the floor departing a program that wouldn't have benefited from finding him minutes. If he can rebuild his shot or develop as a finisher, Walker could certainly be a starter at a lower level of competition, but I think his most likely fit is as a pesky defender at a level where even his reduced athleticism may allow his long limbs and tenacity to menace shooters.

We wish Walker the best of luck.