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Apr 032013
 
Florida signee Chris Walker won the Powerade Jam Fest slam dunk contest Monday night in Chicago. Photo courtesy of McDonald's

Florida signee Chris Walker won the Powerade Jam Fest slam dunk contest Monday night in Chicago.
Photo courtesy of McDonald’s

CHICAGO — Chris Walker waited all summer for a Kentucky scholarship offer that never came his way.

One of the top 10 recruits in the country entering his senior season at Holmes County High in Bonifay, Fla., Walker wasn’t shy about his interest in the Cats. UK was considered the favorite at one point, and the 6-foot-10 forward publicly postponed a planned college announcement and said he wanted to hear from John Calipari before making his final decision.

When Calipari didn’t come through with the offer, Walker lashed out on Twitter.

That move didn’t work, the offer never came, and Walker moved on.

But what happened with Kentucky?

“Nothing happened there,” Walker said Tuesday. “I’m committed to Florida now, so that’s the only thing I’m really worried about.”

Instead of playing for the Cats, Walker will play against them two, three, maybe even four times next season as a member of the Florida Gators.

He’ll be joined in Gainesville by fellow McDonald’s All-American Kasey Hill, who is considered the second-best point guard in the class of 2013 behind Andrew Harrison. Walker said he and Hill, another Florida native, have been playing together since the eighth grade.

The duo will be expected to step in right away for a team that will return several veteran players off this season’s Elite Eight squad and add highly touted transfer Dorian Finney-Smith.

The Gators should be good, but all the SEC talk for 2013-14 is about the Wildcats.

“They’re sleeping on us,” Walker said. “I’m just going to let ‘em keep on sleeping on us. I’m fine with that.”

Walker said he never thinks about what might have been if he had ended up at Kentucky as part of what could be the best recruiting class of all time.

He also took a playful jab at that title. “Best class” doesn’t mean much if you don’t win games.

“I mean, they thought they had the best class last year too, but … ” Walker said before trailing off with a smile.

But Walker doesn’t think this group of UK recruits will meet the same fate as the 2012 bunch, which flamed out before losing in the opening-round of the NIT.

Walker had nothing but praise for UK commitments Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson, who he’s been practicing with all week in Chicago. He also singled out Marcus Lee and the Harrison twins.

“They have a lot of great people going to Kentucky,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to play against them. The battle of the SEC.”

Another player who might end up in Lexington is Andrew Wiggins. Walker has been palling around with him over the past few days, and the Florida big man upset the country’s No. 1 prospect in the McDonald’s slam dunk contest Monday night.

Despite spending a lot of time around Wiggins, Walker didn’t get much of a read into his recruitment.

“If I had to guess, I’d probably have to say Kansas,” Walker said. “If I had to guess. He doesn’t really talk about it.”

If Wiggins ends up at Kentucky, so be it.

Walker remains confident in his Gators.

“Just make sure they keep on sleepin’ on us,” he said.

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  5 Responses to “Florida signee Walker talks about Cats and Gators”

  1. There has to be some good reason coach Cal wasn’t interested in Walker. Maybe in time we will learn why.

  2. Why is there no comment from anyone at UK why this kid wasn’t made an offer? Was it b/c Cal knew that the forward positions were gonna be stacked? Right now there are 6 stars for three spots and you could toss Young and maybe Wiggins into that battle too.

  3. @EV, I am not an expert, but it is my understanding college coaches can not talk about any recruit until that recruit has signed papers to that coach’s school. If that is the case, then UK can not talk about the kid. Plus, Coach Cal, it seems to me anyway, has never talked about other schools or other players that way, as in why he didn’t want a player or something along those lines.

    I hope this helps some EV!

    Go CATS!!!!!!

  4. I think that it came down to choosing him or Wiggins and Wiggins is more versatile – inside and outside.

  5. A coach can’t sign every player who want to play for him. It’s the coach’s decision as to who he signs and some times it hurts a young man’s feeling it’s not him.

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