Talkington Ready To Face Challenge

As he follows in the footsteps of another in-state walkon, Magnolia (W. Va.) High School's Ted Talkington knows that he has a great challenge in front of him as he tries to carve a spot for himself at the highest level of Division 1 basketball.

"I will be willing to do anything," the 6-1 guard said after scoring 11 points during West Virginia's 133-112 loss to Ohio in a high-school all star game on Saturday. "I play really hard, and one of the strengths of my game is driving to the hole. I can also hit the three, and I've been working on that all summer. I am going to work hard."

The high-scoring guard, who averaged 30.9 points per game as a senior, knows that the competition he will face is an order of magnitude greater than what he saw in high school, but his desire to give Division 1 a shot led him to a walkon opportunity at WVU.

Head coach John Belein hasn't pulled any punches with the young scorer, telling him that it will take a great deal of hard work and improvement if he is to ever see the floor at the Coliseum. However, Talkington appears to have the right attitude and mindset for the task. In all likelihood, he will redshirt during his first year with the Mountaineers as he attempts to forge a career with his homestate school.

One of the biggest challenges Talkington will face is a usual one for players coming from small schools - that of battling foes of greater size. Talkington often faced off against shorter guards during his high school career, but he will be the one giving up inches, and, at least initially, size and strength, to his opponents.

"The Ohio team was strong," Talkington said of his all-star opponents. "They were all strong. I was playing against a three guard, and they threw me around a little. I know I have to get stronger to play against them, but this was a good experience for me."

Talkington scored 13 points in the first game of the two-game set, which took place in Chesapeake, Ohio on Friday night. He notes that the nature of all-star games can sometimes hide the abilities of some participants, as the contests often devolve into run and gun fests.

"People aren't hesitant to shoot the ball, so sometimes you don't get your shots," said Talkington, who didn't attempt a shot during the first half of Saturday's game. "Tht's all right, though. It was fun just playing with everyone from around the state."

With the all-star season pretty much completed (Talkington scored a combined 36 points in two contests earlier this year), his attention is now turning toward his college career.

"I will be going over to WVU to play with some of the other recruits in the team camp," the two-time Class AA all-state captain said. "I'm also playing in some summer leagues, and I'm working out on my own. I want to do everything I can so I can be prepared when I get to WVU. I've been really busy so far this summer with all star games, but now I'm going to get over to WVU more and play."

Talkington also draws inspiration from another in-state walkon. Former Elkins star Nick Patella jumped from the depths of the bench to a vital backup role as a freshman two seasons ago, and even after sitting out last season due to injuries, is still in the picture at point guard.

"He was going to get playing time before he got hurt, so that is motivational," Talkington said of Patella. "You see that you can earn playing time if you try hard enough."

Talkington, who is an A student, plans to enroll in either pre-med or engineering at West Virginia.

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