Chris Walker staying at Florida

Updated: April 9, 2014, 9:15 PM ET
By Jeff Goodman | ESPN.com

Florida freshman big man Chris Walker, who was a potential first-round pick despite only averaging 4.8 minutes per game, has decided to return to school.

Walker confirmed the news to ESPN.com Wednesday afternoon shortly after tweeting the following:

"This year has been a great one, and I'm happy to say I will be joining the gatornation again for one more year!"

Walker is a 6-foot-10 athletic big man who wasn't deemed eligible by the NCAA until early February due to academics and amateurism issues. He was playing behind seniors Patric Young and Will Yeguete, and was also behind due to the fact he wasn't on campus until mid-December. Walker averaged 1.9 points and 1.3 rebounds in 18 games.

However, Walker could be a huge part of the Gators team next season with the departure of Young and Yeguete. He's a big-time athlete and shot-blocker who should start in the middle. Multiple NBA executives told ESPN that he could have been taken in the latter part of the first round, based on potential, but that his decision could help him move into the lottery next season.

Florida was 36-3 this past season and was upset by UConn in the national semifinals. Walker played just two minutes in the loss to the Huskies.

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