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C.J. Walker declares for NBA Draft, will maintain UCF eligibility

Walker has until July 19 to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft to remain eligible at UCF.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 27 East Carolina at UCF Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCF Knights men’s basketball forward C.J. Walker has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft while maintaining his eligibility and staying in compliance with the university, he announced Wednesday on social media.

Walker, who just completed his first season at UCF as a sophomore after transferring from Oregon, said playing for UCF has been a huge blessing and he never thought he would be in the position to turn his dreams into a reality.

“At a very young age, it’s been my childhood dream to play in the NBA and now I’m honored to be able to compete for a spot on one of the 30 teams in the Association,” Walker said.

The 6-foot-8 Sanford native played in 21 games, starting 15, and averaged seven points and five rebounds per game. Walker also led the AAC in blocked shots with 1.7 per game.

Walker’s best performance in the 2020-21 season was against USF on Feb. 17 where he recorded season highs in points (18), minutes played (36), field goals made (7), field goal attempts (12) and blocks (4).

The former five-star recruit follows former Knights like Darin Green Jr. and Tacko Fall who entered their names in the NBA Draft while maintaining eligibility. They both returned to UCF after withdrawing from the draft before the deadline to maintain eligibility. Isaiah Adams entered his name in the draft while maintaining eligibility earlier this month.

The NBA announced in March the withdrawal deadline for players declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft is 5 p.m. July 19.

Walker’s announcement comes the same day as UCF forward Collin Smith has entered his name in the NCAA Transfer Portal after “stepping aside from basketball” in the 2020 season, 247Sports’ Jason Beede reported Wednesday.

Daniella Medina is a contributing writer for Black & Gold Banneret. Follow her on Twitter @danimedinanews.