Hall of famer and ESPN commentator Bill Walton said he didn’t know much about Georgia Tech, the team or the school, prior to arriving in China to call Saturday’s game against UCLA. But he’s apparently a fan now.
Prior to the game, a 63-60 win for UCLA, Walton said that the Tech team “has been perfect” as a participant in this week’s events for the Pac-12 China game, praising team members’ participation in activities and their comportment at events in Hangzhou and Shanghai.
Walton was a frequent presence during the week, taking part in the teams’ visit to Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou and going to an event at Shanghai Disney resort. He had breakfast with assistant coach Eric Reveno and forwards Abdoulaye Gueye and Sylvester Ogbonda in Hangzhou, attended a practice in Shanghai and chatted with center Ben Lammers at a news conference at Disneyland.
Walton went on to offer kind words about school president G.P. “Bud” Peterson, provost Rafael Bras, coach Josh Pastner, assistant coach Darryl LaBarrie and communications associate director Mike Stamus. He said that Peterson, whom Walton apparently met at the Alibaba event, is “most impressive and extremely inspirational” in his leadership of Tech.
Pastner had also said he had received several compliments from game organizers about his team. It draws an obvious comparison with UCLA (Walton’s alma mater), which brought significant and unwanted attention on the game when three of its players were arrested for shoplifting.