Florida swingman DeVon Walker has dealt with limited playing time in his freshman season.
But the Winter Haven native who stayed close to home to play for the Gators has no regrets so far.
“When you come into a major university you have these dreams,” Walker said. “You see the sky is the limit and then you get here and you realize your role and it’s just a process of accepting it.”
Going through the mental process of not getting quality playing time isn’t easy. But the 6-foot-6 Walker has tried to make the most of his limited minutes. In 23 games, Walker has averaged 0.7 points and 0.7 steals in a shade over 4 minutes per game. In 96 total minutes, Walker has 4 blocked shots and 2 steals.
Asked how he is dealing with the lack of playing time, Walker responded: “Just faith man, and maturity. Of course, sometimes you wish it wasn’t like this but at the same time it’s all for the good of the team and for you. Things will look better in the future.”
Walker is in the same boat as freshmen teammates Braxton Ogbueze and Dillon Graham, who have both had limited playing time. Of UF’s 2012 class, only freshman Michael Frazier II has cemented a significant spot in the rotation.
Donovan has noted Walker’s effort in practice. In February, when forward Will Yeguete was out with knee surgery, Donovan said he contemplated playing Walker more because he gave him “everything he had” in practice. But junior forward Casey Prather recovered from his ankle sprain in time to become more of a factor off the bench.
“That’s the least I can do,” Walker said of busting it in practice. “That’s a given. You have to do that if you just want to be a great player, period. Just because I’m not playing a lot doesn’t mean I’m going to take a day off in practice. That’s just not me.”
Walker said that he thinks the battles in practice have made him a better player this season.
“I’ve guarded everybody from Scottie Wilbekin to Patric Young,” Walker said. “It’s war and it’s made me tougher and I’m a smarter player because of it.”