Click through Morehouse College’s athletics website and you might stumble across the bio of Tyrius Walker.
A recent graduate of the all-male historically black college in Atlanta, Walker was a basketball star there, averaging 22.8 points per-game and earning the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year award. His bio says that his “immediate plans” after graduation were to “play basketball overseas” and then start his own business.
Walker will have to put those plans on hold. He’s going to get a shot to play professional basketball in the states.
The New York Knicks signed the former Morehouse Maroon Tiger to a contract for its NBA Summer League team. Walker and the Knicks will play their first game in Las Vegas on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN against Walker’s hometown Atlanta Hawks.
“I feel like people are waking up now,” Walker told The Undefeated. “But I’m definitely still going to do what I do and let it go from there. I just want to show New York and the rest of the team that I can bring winning back to their culture.”
Coming out of Henry W. Grady High School in Midtown, Walker wasn’t heavily recruited. According to The Undefeated, he had a Division I offer from Jacksonville State in the Ohio Valley Conference, but that vanished when its coach got fired.
A 6-foot-1, 165-pound guard, Walker was viewed as being undersized, but he took the SIAC by storm. The Tigers had a combined record of 74-35 over Walker’s four seasons there. As a rookie, he was named SIAC Freshman of the Year. As a senior, he was the league’s best player, leading it in scoring and steals, and guiding the Tigers to a 25-3 mark.
In addition to his scoring totals, Walker tallied 5.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.9 steals per-game. He shot 36 percent from three-point range, 48 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the free throw line.
Walker may have stunted the most in a Jan. 22 win against Benedict College in which he scored 47 points and hit the game-winning charity stripe shot in overtime.
He also beat Morehouse’s rival, Clark Atlanta University, most of the time. The Tigers were 6-2 against the Panthers while Walker was on campus.
The 22-year-old landed a workout with the Knicks before last month’s NBA Draft. His agent is Darrell Comer, a 2011 Morehouse graduate.
Another Morehouse man, Harold Ellis, works for the Knicks as its director of player personnel. He is the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer, a 1992 graduate and played three NBA seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets.
Regardless of Ellis’ presence, Walker impressed the Knicks’ brass enough in the workout that they signed him to a summer league deal on June 22.
“I guess they felt like I was just a scoring guard,” Walker told The Undefeated. “But they saw that I can create for others and make everyone else around me better too.”
Walker joins a summer league squad that will also feature Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, the No. 9 overall draft pick, six other rookies and a handful of journeymen veterans.
The Atlanta native may have thought that playing at a Division II school predetermined his destiny to play basketball overseas, but if he impresses in summer league then he could earn an NBA or G-League contract. Walker shouldn’t book an international flight anytime soon.
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