Derrick Walker transferred to play for Nebraska basketball last offseason. His debut for the Huskers is going to be delayed for some time.
Walker began his college career at Tennessee. He played in 64 games for the Vols, averaging 1.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.3 assists for the team.
Walker sat out the 2019-20 season after transferring in. Now, he is being suspended for 16 games to start the year, due to a “violation of team and NCAA rules” stemming back to his time at Tennessee.
That takes away a significant chunk of the two years of eligibility he has left, after playing two at UT. The team currently has 27 regular season games scheduled for the 2020-21 season, which begins today in Lincoln.
Nebraska forward Derrick Walker is suspended for the first 16 games of the season, per the school. The punishment stems from a violation of team and NCAA rules that occurred while Walker was at Tennessee.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) November 25, 2020
Nebraska basketball opens with McNeese State at noon today. On Thursday, he hosts Nevada, and is scheduled to play North Dakota State at home on Saturday.
Head coach Fred Hoiberg released a statement about the suspension, saying that he disagrees with the length, which was determined based on a regular-length schedule, and implies that the team is appealing the decision:
“One of the aspects I like most about coaching is the deep personal relationships and impact you have on the development of the people in your program. It is my job as the head coach at the University of Nebraska to help mold and develop my players just as much off the court as on the court. I take a lot of pride in building trusting relationships where my players know that they can come talk to me whenever they need something.
“Since arriving at Nebraska, Derrick Walker has been phenomenal at owning up to a mistake he made prior to coming here. He was transparent throughout the recruiting process and acknowledged his mistake. In turn, we told him confidently we would support and fight for him.
“The 16-game suspension Derrick faces is based on a normal 31-game regular season. In our opinion, the penalty should accurately reflect half of the abbreviated 2020-21 season, which is scheduled to be 27 games. We have made that case with the NCAA, but at this point the 16-game penalty stands. A lot of hard work went into this from many people at the University, and I thank them for their efforts.
“Regardless of the outcome of any further appeals, we will continue to support Derrick and get him as ready as possible for when he is eligible to compete. I know Derrick is in a much better place today than when he arrived at Nebraska, and he is a valuable member of our team on and off the court.”
If the current Nebraska schedule holds, Derrick Walker will be eligible to return on Sunday, Jan. 24 for the team’s Big Ten game at Iowa. The Huskers hope to have the power forward in the mix for the stretch run this year.
Walker is listed at 6-foot-8, 232 pounds. He was a three-star player in high school, ranked No. 270 overall in the 2017 class.