Saturday, May 9, 2009
Sixth Man of the Year Award: Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker came into UConn with a blue chip resume, playing on the 18 and under USA team and leading several teams to tournament victories. There were still questions as to what he could transfer over to at the next level. He flashed his speed early on, he didn’t look for his shot and rather focused on defense and distributing the basketball, getting most of his points in transition. As the season wore on, shots that had bounced off the rim began to sink for him. The most impressive aspect of his game was on the defensive end. He rarely had a freshman lapse, and when Dyson went down with his injury, Walker became the Husky’s best on the ball defender.
The bench was rather short with Walker, Edwards, Beverly, and Haralson at Calhoun’s disposal . Walker showed he could weather the heavy playing time and consistently played 30 or more minutes. He also showed great poise in crucial stretches of ballgames, coming up with a game tying bucket against Syracuse. He was an invaluable asset to have coming off the bench and gave the team an instant shot of energy. He by far had the most impact coming off the bench then any other player, though Edwards also played a solid and as important role too.
It will be interesting to see how Walker takes on the sole point guard position and the responsibility to score more. He’ll need to show more of a jump shot and ability to create his own shot, but he has shown enough to not worry about his ability to start. He’ll have a better grasp on the play calling, and another year in the training room will have him stronger and more durable for what he knows will be another rigorous season.