Donovan Discusses Walker's Woes

The last few games have not been great for point guard Erving Walker who seems to be winding down after 25 games of running the show for the Gators. Walker has averaged about 2.5 turnovers this season, but that number has shot up to more than four per game the last seven outings.

There are obvious signs that Walker has been tiring from his workload including a rough 6-for-10 at the free throw line in Florida's loss at South Carolina. Walk has played 30-plus minutes in the last dozen games, despite facing defending that are often six inches or more taller than he is. Walker made progress in the last game with eight assists and just turnovers against Xavier, but even then he had a huge turnover late in the contest.

Walker started the first 24 games of the season, but was not in the starting lineup last Saturday after showing up late for a team meeting. Florida coach Billy Donovan says Walker's tardiness is a first time occurrence, but still unacceptable, especially for a point guard.

"It was a morning situation where he needed to be somewhere, and it wasn't that he missed it, but he was late. I think as a point guard he needs to understand the level of accountability he needs to have. Kenny Boynton had a similar situation earlier in the year. I think the day of the game when we are meeting, he not only needs to be there on time but he should be the guy, as a point guard who's getting guys together to say here's what we should be doing."

Florida has tried to lighten the load on the diminutive sophomore from Brooklyn, New York by having Kenny Boynton spend some time at the point and Chandler Parsons spend time handling the ball as well. Donovan pointed out that there's a price that comes with that as well, because you run the risk of overworking those guys, too. So, Donovan said it's really up to Walker to play at a higher level.

"I definitely think that's a challenge and a dilemma for us. When you look at Erving the last five games he's been averaging four turnovers a game. Some of the turnovers I think have been a little bit of carelessness where he's been a little loose with the ball. In the Xavier game he got stripped at half court with about four minutes to go and that wouldn't happen whether you're tired of exhausted. As a point guard you should never have the ball taken in the middle of the floor."

Donovan said Walker has made progress for a guy who hasn't played a whole lot of point guard.

"I think Erving has gotten better understanding on drives when to shoot and when not to shoot and when to keep his dribble live. A lot of times when we're in our half court offense and team's have gotten aggressive with him he can not try to take on those double teams."

One thing that is uniform about point guards is that they half to be team leaders whether it's their natural instinct or not. Walker is a quiet guy who is not inclined to be a vocal type with his teammates. Donovan talks about the role he sees for Walker in that regard.

"I really think your team really follows and goes off your point guard a little bit. I think that Erving, in a positive sense has a real calm demeanor about him. He's very much under control and does not get too rattled. He's not a guy who has emotional swings. He really is a pretty collected kid. But I do think sometimes, even at practice he has got to show some more intensity, some more focus and some more fire. I think that's part of his growth and maturing process."


Despite his recent struggles, Walker is Florida's top scorer in SEC games, averaging 16.6 points a game in league play. He's making 49 percent of his long range shots in SEC action despite making just 4-of-17 in the last three games.

Walker needs nine points against Auburn to reach 700 for his Florida career. More than half those points (402) have come from behind the three point line. He's also Florida's top free throw shooter on the year, making 79 percent from the charity stripe.

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