UF signee Walker shines on way to state title
Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, March 3, 2013 at 11:43 p.m.
LAKELAND — For Bonifay Holmes County center Chris Walker, his last game as a Blue Devil on Wednesday couldn’t have ended any better, winning the school’s first state title in boys basketball.
And the 6-foot-10, 195-pound senior certainly had a lot to do with it — 30 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks — in a dominating 59-40 win over Greensboro West Gadsden for the Class 1A championship.
Now the Florida signee shifts his attention to the Gators and the work needed to be done before he steps on campus in Gainesville.
“I have to work on getting stronger,” said Walker, who along with fellow UF signee Kasey Hill of Montverde Academy is a McDonald’s All-American. “I will be working on my footwork, my post moves, my jump shot. I will be working on a lot of the basic things.”
Walker put on a lot of moves at The Lakeland Center, an intimidating presence inside who affected both Hawthorne and West Gadsden at the final four. Besides his rebounding and blocking prowess, Walker showed he can drive with the ball and hit the short jumper.
In Holmes County’s 51-48 win over the Hornets in the state semifinals, Walker had 13 blocks, 13 rebounds and 20 points. He was matched up against Hawthorne’s 6-6 Ed Porter, who had 16 points.
“I told him good game, that he was doing good and shot some jumpers on me,” Walker said of the Hornet sophomore. “He should keep his head up, he has a bright future.”
Since his freshman year at Holmes County, Walker said he has improved a lot, but knows more work is needed to be an effective collegiate player.
“Since I was a freshman, I think my game has progressed a lot,” he said. “I can pass now, I can finish in the paint, rebound at a high level, block shots at a high level and just run the court.”
Blue Devils coach Poe White has no doubt his center, who is projected as a power forward in college, has the talent to excel at the next level.
“I think he is ready athletic-wise,” White said. “Like he said, he’s got to get in the weight room and get a little stronger and get a little more weight on him. But he has unbelievable talent.
“That is what that level looks for is athletic kids. They will bring him in and develop him into the basketball player that they want. He can improve on basketball skills, his shooting skills. And he is going to improve, there is no doubt in my mind. He just continues to work hard, he has a bright future ahead of him.”
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