Former Vanderbilt forward makes a difference at Xavier
Published: Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 19:12
Though graduate student Andre Walker may be a new face for Xavier fans, this 6-foot-7 forward is anything but new to the world of college basketball.
Walker played for the Vanderbilt Commodores for three years, sitting out for a year due to injury.
For his final year of eligibility, Walker chose to attend Xavier, as Vanderbilt did not offer his graduate program.
"From talking to all the coaches I talked to, I felt most comfortable with Coach Mack and his staff. It's a good educational school," Walker said.
Walker returned to Nashville for the first time since transferring last week when the Musketeers took on the Commodores in Memorial Gymnasium, where he scored six points and recorded 14 boards, a team high. Walker sat for only five minutes of the game and was received with open arms and a warm welcome upon his return.
"When they announced me I feel like they were really loud. Some people said the cheers were louder than for the home team. That felt good," Walker said.
It is not hard to see why Walker is such a fan favorite, even after transferring.
Throughout his basketball career, Walker has suffered a number of trials, both physically and emotionally.
Walker was forced to sit out for a season due to tearing his ACL, and he then played for a minimal amount of games last season due to a bad sprain.
Walker feels that his injuries have made him a smarter player and that watching the game gave him a greater understanding of the game.
Aside from his physical injuries, Walker lost his mother a few years back.
Walker says that his mom is the person that inspires him the most.
"If I don't feel like doing anything on the court or don't feel like running as hard or doing an assignment, I use that as inspiration. I know she'd want me to do my best," Walker said.
For many fans, Walker may not be the player that stands out. He does not score the most points, record the most blocks or have a SportsCenter dunk, but Walker plays a vital role on the Xavier team.
Undoubtedly, Walker's primary asset is his selflessness. From the moment he steps onto the court to the moment he leaves the gym, Walker's primary focus is his team, and he will do whatever is necessary to make them the best they can be.
"I feel that I add some experience. I've been through a lot of battles like a lot of seniors on the team. I feel like I have a very good understanding of the game," Walker said.
A player full of experience and heart, Andre Walker is a staple of a Xavier team that is on its way to what could be one of the best seasons the Musketeers have ever seen.