Kemba Walker emerges as a force in 2011


Kemba Walker – A point guard grows in Connecticut

Kemba Walker

Junior year proved to be a career-making season for Kemba Walker.

In leading the Connecticut Huskies all the way to the 2011 national championship, the then-20-year-old point guard from The Bronx, N.Y., led the nation in scoring with 26.7 points per game and got himself on one of the regional covers of Sports Illustrated. But it was in the postseason where his reputation as a go-to guy was cemented.

In the Big East Tournament, Walker hit clutch shot after clutch shot, tallying 130 points over five games – the highest scoring total in any conference tournament over the previous 15 years – as he led UConn to the conference championship and earned tourney MVP honors along the way.

A run through the NCAA Tournament would follow, culminating in his 16-point performance in the championship game against Butler, which the Huskies won in a low-scoring affair, 53-41.

More accolades would follow, among them the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player honors, the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard and a consensus First Team All-American designation.

He was then drafted in the first round (ninth overall) in 2011 by the Charlotte Bobcats, with whom he would spend the next eight seasons, earning four All-Star berths and distinguishing himself as one of the league’s top points. He joined the Boston Celtics via a sign-and-trade deal prior to the 2019-20 season.

Walker can be seen in a vintage performance from that 2011 Big East Tournament Wednesday, May 20, when ESPN Classic rebroadcasts a semifinal contest between UConn and Syracuse from New York’s Madison Square Garden.


Full name: Kemba Hudley Walker

Birth date: May 8, 1990

Birthplace: Bronx, N.Y.

Height/weight: 6 feet/184 pounds

Draft: Selected in the first round (ninth overall) by the Hornets in 2011

Teams: Connecticut Huskies (2008-11); Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets (2011-19); Boston Celtics (2019-present)

Position: Point guard

No.: 8

Honors and achievements: NCAA champion (2011); First Team All-American (2011); NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award (2011); Bob Cousy Award (2011); four-time NBA All-Star (2017-20); NBA Sportsmanship Award (2017, 2018)


George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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