Florida Gators: DeVon Walker

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida basketball program has lost another player.

Coach Billy Donovan announced Monday that freshman guard/forward DeVon Walker has been granted his release and will be transferring.

"DeVon has a bright future, and we hope for the best for him wherever he chooses to go," Donovan said in a statement.

The 6-foot-6 Walker played in 25 games and scored 20 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots.

He is the second freshman to transfer. Point guard Braxton Ogbueze, who played in only 23 games and scored only 19 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had seven assists, announced he was leaving last week.

Gators solve scholarship problem

October, 10, 2012
10/10/12
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Patric YoungChristian Petersen/Getty ImagesFlorida junior center Patric Young is feeling good now after missing three weeks due to mononucleosis.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida’s basketball scholarship problem resolved itself over the summer after coach Billy Donovan decided not to renew redshirt sophomore Cody Larson’s scholarship because Larson failed to meet requirements that Donovan set throughout the season and during the offseason.

"There were some things I wanted him to do during the course of the year [and] he knew there was a possibility [that if] he didn’t do these things there was a chance he may not be back and he came up short on those things," Donovan said Wednesday during the team’s annual media day. "I’ve been through some different situations with Cody in trying to help him get better on the court, off the court, in the classroom, and taking care of responsibilities, and it was something he was not doing."

Donovan said he spoke with Larson and his family and said Larson was welcome to return as a nonscholarship player or the coach would approve a transfer. The 6-foot-9, 239-pound Larson, who averaged 0.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 25 games last season, decided to come back.

"The decision to stay wasn’t hard at all," Larson said. "I know I wanted to stay under Coach Donovan. Not even talking basketball, just being under Coach Donovan is the best thing for me in my life."

UF had to lose one scholarship for this season anyway because the Gators had exceeded the NCAA maximum of 13. Florida signed freshmen Michael Frazier II, Dillon Graham, Braxton Ogbueze and DeVon Walker, and added transfers Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris.

Young healthy again
Center Patric Young says he has fully recovered from a bout of mononucleosis that kept him out of action for three weeks.

"It was tough at first," Young said. "We had our conditioning test this past Tuesday and I passed all the runs, made my times, so I’ll be ready for practice come tomorrow."

Young was diagnosed when classes began in August. He had a severe sore throat, a fever, and was too fatigued to participate in a scheduled workout. After a trip to a doctor, he was diagnosed with mono. He missed three weeks, and Young said it was pretty rough at times.

The 6-9, 249-pound junior said his roommate, teammate Will Yeguete, was worried.

"He said I was looking miserable," Young joked. "He thought I was on my deathbed for a little bit."
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."

(Read full post)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Billy Donovan was upbeat on Friday during the news conference announcing Bradley Beal's decision to enter the NBA Draft.

[+] EnlargeBradley Beal
Al Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesGators coach Billy Donovan said he will miss Bradley Beal's team-first attitude and work ethic.
He is obviously sad to see Beal leave, but Donovan shouldn't be devastated for two reasons: He knows things could have been a lot worse, and he had been planning for just this situation.

As the season ended with a loss to Louisville in the Elite Eight, there was speculation the Gators would lose four of their five starters. Erving Walker is graduating, but Beal, Patric Young and Kenny Boynton were also considering leaving. Young and Boynton, however, elected to stay, which means the Gators will have one of the Southeastern Conference's top scorers and big men on the floor in 2012-13.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Little-used forward Walter Pitchford is leaving the Florida basketball program to transfer to a school closer to his home in Michigan because of a family situation, the school announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-10, 221-pound Pitchford played in just 13 games and scored just six points. He went 3-for-11 from the field, including 0-for-3 from 3-point range. He grabbed four rebounds.

"It’s definitely the best thing for him and his family, just with some of his extenuating circumstances," UF coach Billy Donovan said in a statement. "Right now, he just needs to be near his family. They need him home and they want him home.”

Pitchford's departure means the Gators have 12 players on scholarship (including three incoming freshmen), one shy of the NCAA limit. UF hopes to still add power forward recruit Anthony Bennett, who said he will announce his school choice in May. Guard Bradley Beal also is considering leaving early for the NBA Draft and has until April 29 to decide.

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