Billy Donovan

Chris Walker saga a best-case scenario for Florida?

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Florida’s highly-touted but yet-to-be-seen freshman Chris Walker has been cleared by the NCAA, according to a report from Jeff Goodman of

“I appreciate all the support from UF, Coach Donovan and my teammates, and I’m looking forward to helping the team any way I can,” Walker said in a statement released by the school.

He is not yet eligible to play, however.

Florida will play three games in the next six days, taking on Mississippi State on Thursday and Texas A&M on Saturday before hosting Missouri next Tuesday. Walker will be allowed to suit up for the game against the Tigers.

Walker was a top ten recruit coming out of high school, but he did not enroll at Florida until after the fall semester due to academic issues that he had in high school. Once he did enroll, he had to wait out what the NCAA determined to be a 12-game suspension. The reason for the suspension was $270 that he had accepted from two different agents as well as free cell phones and service, airfare, lodging, meals and apparel. The NCAA also found that individuals close to Walker received airfare and lodging for nine different trips, eight of which were to Walker’s “non-scholastic basketball competitions”.

Frankly, this has actually turned out to be a best-case scenario for the Gators.

Walker will be a boost for this year’s team. He’s an athlete and a playmaker in the front court, one that will be able to provide some depth for Billy Donovan. He’s also been able to practice for a month and a half, which likely means that he should have an understanding of what Florida wants to run and what his role is in the offense and the defense.

But the Gators already look like a national title contender without Walker’s help this season. Donovan isn’t going to mess with what has worked perfectly this season. Walker will be eased into his role, which may be the best news of all for Florida.

If Walker is hidden, for lack of a better term, behind Florida’s already-impressive front line, there’s a good chance that he returns to school for his sophomore season. Based on raw talent alone, he’s a potential first round pick.

It’s not fair that the NCAA’s arcane rules have forced Walker into this situation, but for the Florida program, this process may have actually played out beautifully.

VIDEOS: Rhode Island, Maryland exchange heated words in Cancun

Dan Hurley
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No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.

Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.

But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.

It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:

After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”:

Wayne Selden stars as Kansas wins the title in Maui

Wayne Selden Jr., Jeff Roberson
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The last time we wrote about Wayne Selden in this space, it was my colleague Scott Phillips who questioned, after a poor performance in the Champions Classic, whether or not Selden is capable of bring a primary scorer for a team with NCAA title aspirations.

At the time, it wasn’t an unfair question to ask.

Selden is a former top 15 recruit. He is a guy who was expected to go one-and-done that played poorly in the first big game of his third year on campus. But after three days it Maui, it appears that the old Wayne Selden is gone.

[MORE: Kansas got Cheick Diallo news today]

He capped an MVP performance in the Maui Invitational with 25 points and seven boards on 8-for-11 shooting as the No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks knocked off No. 19 Vanderbilt, 70-63, in the title game. Selden was terrific for the entire weekend, averaging 21.5 points in the two games against Division I competition and shooting 12-for-17 from beyond the arc in the three game tournament.

It was the best that we’ve seen Selden play during his Jayhawk career, and it came in a game the Jayhawks desperately needed it. Vanderbilt is a damn good team. They’re ranked 19th, which may actually be too low, and they seem to clearly be the biggest challenger to Kentucky in the SEC. They jumped out to a double-digit lead on Kansas in the first half as the Jayhawks seemed to be sleep-walking early in the game.

Enter Selden. He drilled three threes in the first half and scored 13 of the 26 Jayhawk points to keep them close. In other words, he played like a star on a night Kansas desperately needed someone to step up and play like a star. Remember: this is a dude that had enough talent and potential in high school to be considered a McDonald’s All-American and a potential lottery pick. The ability is there:

(That move is filthy.)

The question has always been whether or not he is capable of putting it all together, of being the guy that can be relied upon to make the big play in the big moment, to carry a team with title aspirations.

And to be fair, the jury is still out in that regard. Are we just going to ignore those four free throws he clanged down the stretch?

But seeing Selden have this kind of performance in a game like this against a team that is this good is unquestionably a positive for Kansas moving forward.