Walker Becoming More Assertive

As he readies to hit the road during the month of July, rising junior Ty Walker knows that it's time for him to take his game to the next level. Standing 6-11, the skinny big man from Wilmington (N.C.) New Hanover understands that he now must become more assertive on the offensive end.

The transformation has already begun to take place after an outstanding showing at Nike's recent Hoop Jamboree, a loaded camp featuring 120 or so of the top underclassmen in the country. At the Hoop Jam, Walker had the chance to play against others his size and he realized that he's capable of playing with any of them.

"I think that I had some good games and some just all right games," said Walker. "I was playing against people my height and who are as good as me. I was kind of surprised at first but then I got confident."

Confident indeed, Walker ran the court, blocked shots, and scored from the inside and outside. Rather than settling for deep jumpers -- which he is capable of making because of his smooth stroke -- Walker used his length to his advantage and learned some things about his game.

"It's like a big accomplishment for me because in high school at Hanover I don't face people like I did at Nike and I only scored like five points a game last year," Walker told Inside Carolina. "It taught me to utilize my strengths. I'm an inside-outside guy and I can hit the three, but I didn't take too many of those. I need to focus on the 15-18 foot jumper and scoring inside."

This month, Walker will also have ample opportunity to showcase his ability in front of college coaches. He'll hit a camp in Greensboro for the next few days before heading to Jacksonville, N.C. with his high school team from the 13th to the 16th before finishing up with the North Carolina Gaters at the Super Showcase and AAU Nationals in Orlando from the 24th through August 1st.

"When they (coaches) are watching me I just try to think I'm back at home playing in front of a Hanover crowd," said Walker. "I just picture myself at home and don't really try to worry about the coaches. That helps me keep my focus."

During June, coaches were allowed to start phoning juniors-to-be. Not surprisingly, Walker heard from plenty of schools and he's already got a pair of favorites.

"I've heard from Kansas, Miami (Fla.), Clemson, North Carolina, Wake Forest, East Carolina and I talked to UNC-Wilmington and some others," said Walker. "It would still be between UNC and Wake Forest and it will probably come down to them. But, I'll never tell somebody ‘No' because I want to make sure my options are open and that I have backup plans."

Not only has Walker spoken to North Carolina coaches on the phone, he was recently on the Chapel Hill campus for a team camp. The UNC staff, who has had an eye on the promising Wilmington standout for some time, gave him some tips on how to improve his game as he hits the road this month.

"They said that I've really improved as a player. At the team camp we attended I scored like 19 or 20 points a game and they said that I've come along as a scorer," said Walker. "They also said to keep working on rebounding and posting up. I should use a wider base when I post up and box out. That way people can't push me over as easily and I can be more explosive to the basket."

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