An ‘honor' for Walker to be UF assists leader
Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 16, 2012 at 12:10 a.m.
Florida senior point guard Erving Walker didn't get a chance to meet Ronnie Montgomery when the Gators honored the UF alum a few weeks ago at the O'Connell Center.
On Monday night at Alabama, Walker passed Montgomery's school record to become UF's all-time assists leader. It wasn't the prettiest performance for Walker, who went 1 of 6 from the field with 7 assists and 4 turnovers. But it was one the Gators needed to snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 3-5 on the road this season.
“We're always going to be a confident group,” Walker said. “We lost two (in a row), but we've won some tough games against some really tough teams. We know we can compete at the highest level. It's just a question of us having the right intensity each day.”
Walker said it was an “honor” to pass Montgomery, who amassed 503 assists from 1985-88. The record assist came during UF's 16-0 second-half run, setting up close friend and teammate Kenny Boynton on a breakaway layup.
Listed at 5-foot-8, Walker now has 505 career assists and is second in the Southeastern Conference with 4.9 assists per game. Walker also leads the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.3-1.
“People look at him as being a shot-first point guard,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “But I think that statistic, that he's the all-time leader in assists in school history, shows that he's a pretty unselfish kid and is trying to do the things I'm asking him to do.”
While Walker has been mired in a seven-game shooting slump (an uncharacteristic 9 for 40 from 3-point range during that span), he hasn't let it impact other areas of his game.
“With Erving, there is a feast and famine with him,” Donovan said. “There are times where he really causes some problems for the opponent and there are times he causes some problems for me.
“But it's pretty amazing that a guy who is 5-foot-8 can score 1,600 points and can leave here the all-time leader in assists at his size.”
Florida sophomore center Patric Young, who benefited from three of Walker's seven assists, said that Walker has improved as a leader during the course of the season.
“He's starting to understand the roles of each player and what we're capable of doing as teammates, and I really appreciate him for that,” Young said. “I hope he makes the record so high no one can ever beat it.”
Contact Kevin Brockway at 352-374-5054 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Brockway's blog at Gatorsports.com.
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