Walker Cherishes His Effort Most Of All
Get Ready For Mail Call, Sean
Kenny Walker could be the best all-around athlete ever to play at Kentucky. But that's not what Walker wants UK fans to remember when they think of him in future years.
"I want people to remember Kenny Walker as a player who always gave 110 percent when he went on the basketball court," says Walker, who ended his career with 2,080 points to rank second on the all-time UK scoring list. "I want people to say they enjoyed watching me play whether I scored 10 points or 25 points.
Cats' Pause Columnist
"But I also want people to realize I did things other than play basketball. There is a sensitive side to Kenny Walker that not everyone got to see. People might not understand that sometimes I just couldn't stay and sign autographs. I wasn't trying to be rude and it hurts me to walk off when a fan, especially a kid, wanted an autograph."
Walker often avoided going out because he knew fans would flock around him. Other times he would go out and not sign any autographs.
"It's hard to say no to people but sometimes I just had to do it," says Walker, who is certain to be a high first round draft pick in the upcoming National Basketball Association draft. "The fans, though, are a great plus for this program. We have the best fans in the country and I will certainly always cherish all the support I received."
But he'll also cherish the telecommunications degree he will receive in May. Not every major college athlete can graduate on time but Walker has' been able to balance his athletic and academic pursuits.
Degree Close To Kenny's Heart
"I wanted to get my degree," says Walker. "That's one big reason I didn't go to the NBA last year. When I came to Kentucky one of my goals was to graduate and I'm excited about almost reaching that goal.
"It isn't easy to keep up your academic work and play basketball. Some nights you have to stay up and study when you would like to go to bed. I always took time on road trips to study, too.
"You just have to realize that it takes more effort to keep up with your studies and allocate the time. It might cut down on your social life but getting a degree is very important to me."
That's the side of Kenny Walker that his teammates will remember years from now. They all know Walker is a spectacular player but off the court he was just as much fun to be around.
"He was the best player I was around in my four years here," says UK senior guard Roger Harden. "He got so much publicity but he always handled it well. That's why no one was ever jealous of him.
"Kenny's character overshadows his basketball ability. He's a great player but he's an even better person."
Walker led by example, too. Seldom did he show emotion on the basketball court. Instead, he just went out and play as hard as he could every game.
"The only way to play this game is to play hard no matter who you are playing," says Walker.
That attitude earned him the respect of his teammates, UK fans and opposing players and coaches.
"Playing hard is a Kenny Walker trademark," says UK junior Paul Andrews. "I don't know how a player can play any harder than Kenny does."
He can't. That's why Walker was an Ail-American and will be remembered as one of the best, if not the best, player ever to wear the blue and white.
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HENRY CLAY High School Coach Al Prewitt wouldn't be surprised if Sean Sutton ended up playing for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Sutton, the son of Kentucky Coach Eddie Sutton, hit 61 percent from the field and averaged 19 points per game for the Blue Devils this season.
"He's a definite Division I prospect," says Prewitt. "He's a great passer, he has deceptive quickness and he adds great leadership. He's going to get bet-
ter, too, because he is a hard worker."
The 6-1 junior was named the outstanding sophomore in Arkansas before he came to Lexington. That only added to the pressure of being the son of the UK basketball coach.
Big Boys Already Hot On The Trail For Young Sutton
"When he first came here he had a lot of pressure on him," says Prewitt. "Being the son of the UK coach and adding the reputation as being an outstanding player put the heat on him. He felt that he had to prove himself but he lived up to everything that was said. He proved he could play."
He played so well that schools from Southeastern Conference, Big Ten and Atlantic Coast Conference have already started contacting him.
"He would probably have received even more contacts if people were not aware that he was Eddie Sutton's son," says Prewitt. "Schools want to wait and see what Kentucky does."
Can Sean Sutton play for Eddie Sutton?
"There would be a lot of pressure on Sean at UK," says Prewitt. "But Kentucky wouldn't recruit Sean or any player that it didn't think would be an asset to the program. He has the capability to do a good job at UK and if he does decide to join the Wildcats he would be a big asset to the team."
Sean Needs To Toughen Up His Defensive Skills
Prewitt plans to let Sutton's parents handle most of the recruiting calls and visits. The veteran high school mentor says, "He can't get any better advice than what he will get at home. I'll just ask him to stay in touch and let me know what he is doing.
"We have certain rules and regulations at Henry Clay but Sean and his parents will handle the bulk of the recruiting. They don't need my help."
The point guard, though, does need Prewitt's help to improve his game. Defense and outside shooting are the areas Prewitt wants Sutton to concentrate on before next season.
"He needs work on his defense like most high school kids do," says Prewitt. "He anticipates well but sometimes he anticipates too much.
"He also needs to become a little better outside shooter. He already has all the other tools a point guard needs."
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UK SIGNEE Rex Chapman continues to amaze basketball fans and add more honors to his collection.
It came as no surprise when Chapman was named Kentucky's Mr. Basketball recently. He will lead the Kentucky All-Stars against Indiana in games June 14 and 21.
He was also amed to the USA Today Ail-American first team along with J.R. Reid of Virginia Beach, Va.; Terry Mills of Romulus, Mich.; Scott Williams of Hacienda Heights, Calif.; and Rumeal Robinson of Cambridge, Mass.
The Owensboro Apollo standout dazzled fans at the recent McDonald's All-Star game in Detroit with his passing and all-around game.
And he's sure to have just the same impact on UK fa"ns next season.