Walker is DePaul's Third Option

In only two of DePaul's games this season has a player other than Mac Koshwal or Dar Tucker led the Blue Demons in scoring. On both occasions that player was junior guard Will Walker. Those games, and Walker's 11.8 points per game, suggest that the junior guard is the player who can step up and help bring consistency to the Blue Demons' offense.

Why Will Walker? Three reasons:

1. This team is building for the future - Walker is a junior, which means he has another season of playing with sophomores Koshwal and Tucker. At this point in the season, it wouldn't make sense to give extra touches to a senior who won't be able to contribute next season.

2. He is already efficient on offense - Walker, according to the statistics on Kenpom.com, is already more efficient on offense than Tucker, and just as effective as Koshwal. Walker is also one of two only non-seniors with an efficiency rating above 100 besides the team's two stars. (The other is freshman guard Jeremiah Kelly.)

3. He isn't afraid to launch shots from beyond the arc - 43.5 percent of Walker's shots this season have come from three-point range. While his shooting percentage has fallen from his 43.6 percent clip a year ago, certainly due in part to the new, longer, 20'9? arc. Walker though appears to be adjusting to longer line as the season progresses. While he is shooting 28.9 percent from beyond the arc on the season, he is at a much more impressive 40.5 percent clip during Big East play.

Walker's outside shooting is key for the Blue Demons. DePaul needs a player who can stretch defenses and take the pressure off of Koshwal inside and create lanes for Tucker to slash into. Walker has the ability to be that player, if he's given the chance. Currently Walker is using 19.3 percent of DePaul's offensive possessions while he is on the court. That number needs to be increased.

Jabari Currie has gone through a serious slump this season. His three-point percentage has crashed to 28.2 percent from 47.1 percent last season. Currie though is still using a similar number of possessions, even while he struggles. He is a proficient passer. Currie, a senior, should defer to Walker in order to help the Blue Demons.

Walker's scoring has risen this season, not because of more touches, but more minutes. Last season, as he barraged opponents with three-point bombs, Walker only played about half the minutes he does now. A large jump in minutes though hasn't contributed to a large jump in scoring since he gets lost in the shuffle on offense.

Against UIC, when Walker led the Blue Demons in scoring during a 67-63 victory, the junior was assertive on the offensive end. He looked for his shot and also drove the ball on a consistent basis into the paint.

Against Marquette on Saturday, that Walker was back on the court. He was DePaul's leading scorer in the first half against the Golden Eagles as the Blue Demons tried to keep the game close. Walker was 3-4 from beyond the arc during the first half and scored nine points. He finished the game with 17 points in 38 minutes.

Integrating Walker into the offense more is not going to be easy for the Blue Demons. It will mean a reduced role for veteran players like Currie, but it is what's best for DePaul basketball at this point in the season. Head coach Jerry Wainwright needs to build for the future and give Walker a bigger role.

John Templon is the photographer and writer of the Chicago College Basketball blog. John is a graduate journalism student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

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