Tag:Kemba Walker
Posted on: April 12, 2011 3:15 pm

Walker announces he's entering NBA Draft

Connecticut junior Kemba Walker on Tuesday confirmed reports that he will forgo his final year of eligibility and enter June's NBA Draft.

"I just think it's the right time for me to go to the NBA," Walker said during a press conference at Gampel Pavilion.
The 6-foot-2 guard led the Huskies to the national title by averaging 23.5 points and 4.5 assists this season.

He's projected to be among the first 10 picks of the draft.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: April 11, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 5:59 pm

Walker to enter NBA Draft

Connecticut junior Kemba Walker has scheduled a Tuesday press conference at which he will announce that he will forgo his final year of college, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com on Monday.

The press conference will be at Gampel Pavilion at 3 p.m. ET.
Walker led the Huskies to the national title by averaging 23.5 points and 4.5 assists per game this season.

He's a projected lottery pick.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 9, 2011 12:52 pm

Fredette leads POY straw poll

The results of the latest AnnArbor.com National Player of the Year straw poll are now available.

They reflect the exact ballot I turned in yesterday.
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
Nolan Smith (Duke) and Derrick Williams (Arizona) round out the top five.

Click this link to see all of the results.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 12:11 pm

My current top three for POY

I just submitted my top three National Player of the Year candidates for the AnnArbor.com straw poll.

Here's what I sent Mike Rothstein:
  1. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
The results of the straw poll will be announced later this week.
Posted on: January 29, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2011 4:49 pm

Note to UConn: Let Walker win or lose for you

I don't believe in one-man teams in any sport, basketball included. But I do believe in letting superstars be superstars when it's time to win or lose a game, and that's why I hate the way Connecticut lost to Louisville on Saturday.

Jeremy Lamb took (and missed) the shot at the end of the first OT, and Shabazz Napier brought the ball up the court at the end of the second. Sure, Napier eventually found Kemba Walker, arguably the nation's best closer. But Napier got the ball to Walker late, and he had to launch a desperation 3-pointer. It almost went in, but it was still a bad shot that missed at the horn. So Louisville escaped Gampel Pavilion with a 79-78 win in double-overtime, and I couldn't help but think UConn is trying too hard to prove it's something more than the Big East's version of Jimmer and the Cougars.

Note to the Huskies: Don't forget what got you here.

It's nice that Lamb and Napier have developed into respectable sidekicks and possible future stars, but they're still sidekicks and this isn't the future. This is the present, and in the present (and the immediate future) you'd be wise to win or lose with the ball in Walker's hands. If the defense plays off of him, he should shoot. If the defense gets up on him, he should drive. If the defense doubles him, he should still shoot or still drive and make something happen.

In other words, regardless of the situation, Walker should have the ball when the game is on the line, and he should decide the outcome, for better or worse. Perhaps the Huskies will lose games when such is the case anyway. But they definitely lost when it wasn't the case Saturday, and that, quite simply, is no way to lose.
Posted on: January 12, 2011 11:38 am

UConn's Walker POY leader, according to poll

AnnArbor.com's Mike Rothstein is conducting a National Player of the Year straw poll for the third straight season.

Fifty-five writers submitted ballots with their top three choices.

My ballot looked like this:
  1. Kemba Walker (Connecticut)
  2. Jared Sullinger (Ohio State)
  3. Jimmer Fredette (BYU)
That's also how the top three of the straw poll look.

Click this link to check it out.
Posted on: November 25, 2010 1:22 am
Edited on: November 25, 2010 1:40 am

Now UConn is the nation's best story, of course

How often do you actually write?

That's a question I'm often asked when I speak to classes, meet readers at games, sit in bars later than I should. I get a variation of it every few days, and I always answer by telling the curious soul that in the offseason I try to write three or four columns a week, and that during the season there's rarely a day -- Christmas, perhaps -- when I'm not typing words about college basketball. That exchange almost always leads to a follow-up question.

How do you find something to write about EVERY day?

It's at this point that I go into a speech about how there are hundreds of teams playing and that stories just constantly and consistently develop. You can't always predict when and where, I tell them, but you can safely assume stories will emerge because stories always emerge.

Which brings me to Kemba Walker and the Connecticut Huskies.

They are a perfect example.

UConn won the Maui Invitational late Wednesday.

The eight-team event featured the schools ranked No. 2 (Michigan State), No. 8 (Kentucky) and No. 13 (Washington) in the latest Associated Press poll, and yet the unranked Huskies -- the same unranked Huskies who were projected 10th in the Big East, according to a preseason vote of league coaches -- are the ones returning to the mainland still undefeated thanks to wins over Wichita State, Michigan State and Kentucky.

The second of those wins (over Michigan State) was the biggest surprise.

The third (over Kentucky) was the most impressive.

UConn dominated UK and won 84-67 thanks to a 29-point effort from Walker, who has been nothing short of spectacular through five games. He scored 60 points in UConn's first two contests this season, 90 in Maui. I don't need a calculator to realize that's an average of 30 points per game, and I don't know where this came from, exactly, but I'm certainly thrilled it's here.

How do you find something to write about EVERY day?

Like I said, stories just constantly and consistently develop. Oftentimes, they're precisely where most anticipated. But every once in a while they come out of nowhere, and this week has been one of those weeks thanks to Kemba Walker and his soon-to-be-ranked Huskies.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 24, 2010 2:10 am
Edited on: November 24, 2010 2:22 am

Five thoughts on a great night of hoops

Tuesday marked the first real day of great college basketball games, and it was terrific. Here are five thoughts from a night that saw No. 1 Duke remain undefeated, No. 4 Kansas State take its first loss, Kemba Walker lead UConn past No. 2 Michigan State, and No. 8 Kentucky get by No. 13 Washington thanks to another stellar effort from yet another terrific John Calipari-coached freshman:

1. Duke is seriously talented, elite, all that and more

The Blue Devils were the nation's consensus preseason No. 1 team, and the nation saw why during their 82-68 win over Kansas State. You could reasonably argue -- I'm not saying I necessarily believe this, just saying it could be reasonably argued -- that Duke has college basketball's best player at three different positions, and that freshman Kyrie Irving is already the team's top player despite the fact that he joined a roster featuring seven guys with national title rings. This team was easy to love on paper, and it's even easier to love after watching it on the court. They won't lose when they play well. To top them, somebody will have to be really good on the same day they're a little off.

2. Jacob Pullen will probably be OK, I think

Jacob Pullen struggled against Duke, missed 11 of the 12 shots he attempted. So if you want to question him, you can. And I won't blame you. But I would like to remind you that he's had awful nights before and recovered nicely. The All-American candidate posted back-to-back 2-of-15 games last January and still went on to put 34 on BYU and 28 on Xavier during the NCAA tournament. Granted, it's unclear if Pullen can be that same type of player without Denis Clemente in the backcourt beside him, and, I know, Pullen hasn't looked great this season regardless of the opponent. But he's still undeniably the best player on a team that already owns wins over Virginia Tech and Gonzaga, and that's worth remembering in the spirit of perspective.

3. Kemba Walker is turning into a star

New York-area basketball enthusiasts have wanted Kemba Walker to be a star since the moment he enrolled at UConn, but it didn't happen that quickly for a variety of reasons. It's happening now, though. Walker recorded at least 30 points for the third straight game and led the unranked (for the moment) Huskies to a 70-67 victory over Michigan State. He's driving and scoring and, perhaps most impressively, leading. And though I can't imagine Walker keeps it up and really averages around 30 points per game, if he's anywhere close to this good consistently then my prediction that UConn will miss the NCAA tournament for the second straight year will be wrong in a major way.

4. Michigan State, as usual, will be a work in progress

As sure as Tom Izzo is spelled with two Zs, Michigan State will be there in the end. To think otherwise would be stupid. But it must be concerning for Spartan fans that Kalin Lucas was awful in the loss to UConn. While Walker had the type of game that enhances (and in many cases inflates) reputations, Lucas had one that damages them. He recorded four field goals and five turnovers in the loss, and an elite point guard shouldn't have games like that in his senior year even when he's coming off of an injury.

5. Terrence Jones is way better than I anticipated

I knew Terrence Jones would be good because he's big and skilled and naturally gifted, but what he's done through four games is ridiculous. The 6-foot-8 freshman is averaging 20.1 points and 11.8 rebounds after geting 16 points and 17 rebounds in UK's 74-67 win over Washington, and he's the main reason why the Wildcats are still overwhelming opponents despite losing five first-round picks from last season's team. Jones' waffling between Washington and Kentucky for two weeks last May -- specifically the way he toyed with fans via Twitter -- before ultimately signing with the Wildcats was a major turnoff in my eyes, but I don't care about that anymore. Kid is performing like a monster. Just tremendous. He'll never play college basketball next to permanently ineligible Turkish star Enes Kanter (barring a successful appeal to the NCAA). But, my lord, can you imagine how scary Kentucky would be with those two?
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com