Monday, March 24, 2008

Erving Walker- It's About Skills, Not Height

People under 6'0 generally aren't regarded as top-notch basketball players. Erving Walker of Christ the King (NY) is an exception. Walker, a 5'8 senior guard, had a quality performance at the Prime Time Shootout against Trenton Central (NJ). Walker certainly had some motivation, with his future coach, Billy Donovan, in attendance. That's right, 68 inches is enough to get you a spot on a team in the SEC, as long as you have the skills. Erving and I chatted after the win at the Prime Time Shootout.

NB: [The team] dominated that game from start to finish. How were you able to just completely take control of that game?
EW: They were kind of wild, it was just all over the place like little bees on honey, but we knew we were definitely the better basketball team, so we just wanted to come out and play [at] a loose, slow pace, but if we got the break take it, but we just wanted to come out like that.

NB: People always talk about height in basketball. Do you feel there’s any way that your size gives you an advantage?
EW: Yeah, I feel like I’m lower to the ground, I [can] cause more havoc on defense, I get under your dribble, and the littler [people are] . . . harder to guard. . . . It has it’s disadvantages, [such as trying to] post-up [or] whatever, but I just try to make the best of it.

NB: Do you think that the way everyone talks about [height] is really as important as it is [made out to be], or is it if you’re good at basketball, it doesn’t matter how big you are? What’s your opinion?
EW: It does have some implications, of course you’d like the height, but if you [can] play, you [can] play, and that’s really it, if you [can] play, you [can] play.

NB: There [are] a lot of Catholic schools in New York. . . . When you chose to come to Christ the King, what [led to] your decision to come here over some of the other schools?
EW: There’s a lot of great teams in the Catholic League, but the cultural diversity at Christ the King is great, [it’s] not just one race. Distance-wise, I’m from Brooklyn, but it’s about only 20 minutes from my house, and I feel that it’s the best school to prepare you for college, they got a lot of different resources.

NB: What went into your decision to commit to Florida?
EW: Coach Donovan, he’s a great coach, [and] he was a small guard himself, so it’s always good for someone that [can] relate to you [to be your coach]. The great atmosphere down there [was important], and I just feel like their style of play is up-tempo and it should do me well.

NB: Are you to maybe be able to help Florida get back on the national scale they were on the past two seasons winning back-to-back national championships?
EW: Yeah, I definitely would like to help them win the national title, but . . . right now they [are] not as dominant as they [were] for the past two years, but if you look, they [are] still in the top 25 [as of the time of the interview].

NB: What’s your main goal [for] the of [your] senior season?
EW: City championship.

NB: What about personally?
EW: City championship. If I was to win the city championship, I got to play a certain role in that so I want to do that.

NB: How about in college, what do you want to accomplish when you’re at college?
EW: [Conference] championship, national championship. You know what the goals [are], everybody wants the best personal things, freshman [SEC] Player of the Year, any of those things, but just fit in and help out the team the best way I can.

Is there too much of an emphasis on height in basketball? That's not for me to decide, but i do know this: if you have skills, you can play ball. Erving Walker not only said that himself, but he proves that on the court. Walker will be able to ease his way into the rotation at Florida, as the team is full of guards, including Nick Calathes and Jai Lucas. Walker's room for growth in the Florida system should help him improve as a player, and allow him to be a successful college player, regardless of his size. Erving's height hasn't held him back thus far, and it shouldn't keep him from being a quality player in the NCAA.

Note- photo is from

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