Drew Gordon is one of the biggest sluggers in the junior class. An intense rebounding machine that plays strong around the bucket and to mid-range. Gordon had his hands full. Walker finally toed the line with a big timer and held his ground.
Walker, the top prospect in the of North Carolina's 2008 class, walks away from his matchup brimming with confidence knowing that he was able to hold the line in a juiced up environment. And he did it with assistants from North Carolina and Kentucky in the stands.
Traditionally a fast starter when it comes to blocking shots, Walker set the tone for the matchup. He made it tough on Gordon as he blocked a number of chances against the Mitty power forward when guarding him head up. Gordon gave up 3 inches to a prospect who conceivably has the longest wingspan and reach of any 2008 post player.
The North Carolinian got some help from his big New Hanover teammates, in particular George Bryan, an N.C. State football recruit. Bryan's physicality on Gordon on the defensive end allowed Walker the luxury of not having to take on Gordon each possession so he was ready when needed. It gave New Hanover another body which to use against Gordon.
Gordon finished with a hard earned 17 points (8-for-15 FG) to go with 6 blocks of his own and 7 boards. Most of his misses came against the outstretched arms of Walker. Like the player he's touted to be, Gordon rose to the occasion in the second half when he and teammate Collin Chiverton (22 points) mounted the comeback which eventually came up short, in the 59-56 New Hanover win.
Walker flirted with a triple double. The Wildcats center had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 9 blocks by our count. He shot 5-for-9 from the field and played his strongest the beginning of the game. Gordon's physicality got to him midway through the second half but he did manage to establish himself early which was a key to the win.
New Hanover was paced by James Beatty who stuck 6-of-10 trifectas for 24 points.