.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

BOYS' PREP BASKETBALL: Passion drives Eagles' Walker (02/06)

-A A +A
By Greg Crews

 

By GREG CREWS gcrews@thenewsenterprise.com FORT KNOX Basketball was never Chris Walker’s first love. In fact, the only reason he joined the basketball team in seventh grade was because Scott Middle School didn’t have a football team. But basketball has proven to be a pretty good fallback. A senior point guard, Walker has become one of the Fort Knox Eagles’ leaders in nearly every category, averaging 9.1 points (third on the team), 4.3 rebounds (third), 3.1 steals (first) and 2.5 assists (first) per game. “Chris has been consistent as far as how he has played at the point guard position,” Fort Knox coach Kip Rambo said. “He doesn’t care how many points he has every night. … He realizes he can’t pass the ball to himself, so consequently he doesn’t score as many points as he could if he was playing the two, but he’s okay with that.” Walker isn’t driven by stats or the need to put up big numbers. All the motivation he needs is his passion he has for the game. “One of the things he’s always talking to his teammates about is playing the game with passion and without fear,” Rambo said. “That’s a sign that Chris has matured and that he is a leader.” But Walker doesn’t just lead with his words, he does it by example. The 6-foot guard has no qualms about driving right into the heart of the defense and attacking the basket, putting his body on the line as he often draws contact while putting up a layup in traffic. “I’m just thinking, ‘I need to make this shot,’” Walker said. “I’ve always played like that.” Even with his fearless attitude, Walker is far from reckless. “He’s got incredible court vision,” Rambo said. “He sees things happening, anticipates where he needs to be on offense and defense. That’s probably his biggest strength.” Those skills have come in handy this season for Fort Knox (3-14) as it has converted to a more up-tempo style of play. It is a style that puts more focus on the point guard, who is in charge of leading his team on the fast breaks the Eagles are often looking for. “This style is definitely better for us,” Walker said. “We’re not a very big team and in half court, most teams can stop us. It helps us if we can run and gun.” As the team has become more adept at the new style, Walker and Rambo both feel like the Eagles are on the verge of turning a corner. “We are working better as a team,” Walker said. “Everyone is starting to feel better about the way we are playing. I think we’re going to do good during the (17th) District Tournament.” If the Eagles were to make a run in the district tournament and get to the 5th Region Tournament, Walker said it would be huge for the program, which has struggled in recent years. And there are few that know that better than Walker. Many of Fort Knox’s top basketball players seem to end up making their way to other area schools; places they may be able to find more postseason success. Walker, however, is one of a few players who can lay claim to having come up through the middle school program and playing four years at the high school. “That says loads,” Rambo said of Walker, whose older brother Terry was also a four-year player at Fort Knox and now plays for St. Catherine College. “… It’s often the parents who make those decisions and Terry Sr. has had the desire to help Fort Knox build a better program. But it definitely speaks to Chris’ loyalty to the program.” Indeed, it is quite a bit of loyalty for someone who joined the program practically by default. Greg Crews can be reached at 505-1754