October is the time of year where we sit and wait for the suspensions for offseason rules violations to be announced, and on Wednesday at Florida’s media day, Billy Donovan made a pair of suspensions public.
Star center Chris Walker, a former top ten recruit and projected lottery pick, will miss the first two games of the season, as well as Florida’s exhibition game, for a violation of team rules. He’ll be sidelined for a matchup with one of the CAA favorites, William & Mary, as well as a showdown with in-state rival Miami.
Walker missed the first 21 games of his freshman season, as he was not allowed to enroll at the school due to an academic issue until the spring semester began and was then benched for 12 games by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits. He only averaged 4.8 minutes, but that had quite a bit to do with Walker missing two months of practice and the presence of Patric Young as much as anything. There was hope that, with a full offseason and preseason, he would be able to reach his potential this year.
The other suspension may hurt a bit more as Brandone Francis, a top 30 recruit, will not be allowed to suit up this season for an academic issue. He’s enrolled in school but he won’t be allowed to practice until the start of the second semester, if at all. Francis was not expected to be a starter this year, but he was projected to be one of Florida’s key pieces off the bench.