Friday, April 13, 2012
DeVon Walker picks Florida over Bama
By Jeff Barlis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida signed wing prospect DeVon Walker (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven H.S.) on Friday, quickly filling the scholarship of Bradley Beal, who departs for the NBA.
"[Beal] had an amazing, amazing impact on the program and the team, so I wouldn't mind copying him," Walker said just after signing his letter of intent during a ceremony at his school.
As he assisted Beal in assessing his draft stock, UF coach Billy Donovan made a late push for Walker, a well-rounded swingman who averaged 23.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a senior.
"He came a little bit harder towards the end when it got closer to signing," Walker said. "Coach Donovan said Brad was in the process of deciding to go to the league. But before Brad had even decided, [Donovan] had already told me I had a scholarship and everything was good. So I don't really think it came down to Brad leaving."
Walker, who has grown to 6-foot-6 1/2, 187 pounds and can play shooting guard and small forward, was at one point committed to Central Florida. He chose the Gators over Alabama, Florida State and Connecticut.
"It came down to Alabama and Florida, and I really loved both programs," Walker said. "Coach [Anthony] Grant at Alabama, he has something special going on. I feel that their program is one of the best programs in the country, and Florida is also.
"My decision came down to just being closer to home and being able to have my family come to a lot of games, being comfortable at UF's campus, because I've been up there the most times."
"I actually played against [Bennett], so I hope he does come to Florida," Walker said. "That man, he is a monster. Physically, he's a monster when you're playing against him. I'm not really scared of anybody I play, but he's a force on the court."
Friday, though, was Walker's big day and he thoroughly enjoyed the attention of his signing ceremony. Walker said he's looking forward to playing with "a great point guard" in Ogbueze along with UF's other guard signees.
"I'm more of a versatile wing. I can score the ball and defend," Walker said. "Michael and Dillon, they're known as shooters. They can knock down a perimeter shot. But as far as attacking the basket and knocking down a shot as well, I feel like I can be that guy."