At #73 we head over to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It’s a nice, quiet little town. Home of the Krispy Kreme donut. Mmmm, donut. If you’re a fan of early Southern decorative art, then this is the place to be. The city aso host Wake Forest, just one of a handful of small private schools in the ACC. Here though you can also find one of the bigger busts currently in the ACC.
PLAYER: Ty Walker
TEAM: Wake Forest
TAPE: 7-0, 230
2010-11 STATS: 3.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG (.453/.559/.000)
Ty Walker came to Wake Forest in 2008 as a five-star recruit. In fact he was rated the 4th best center in high school. That’s a ton of props, but after three seasons, Walker has done very little for the Demon Deacons. Hell, the five-star recruit has yet to even average five points per game in any season.
If he was any other player he would have been labeled a “Bust” by now and he would have been written off. However, Walker has a special gift.
If you watched any of the 2011 NBA draft, the one word you heard over and over again was “wingspan.” That is Walker’s gift.
The senior is a legit seven-footer with a 7-6 wingspan. Standing straight up with his arms raised in the air, Walker is 9-5. Simply put, he’s one of the longest players in college basketball.
However, he’s not just a tree. Walker has good hop and good speed, capable of running the floor. His number one talent is shot blocking. He has 92 for his career, 13th all-time in Wake’s history. Not bad for a guy who barely played his first two seasons. Last year he was second in the ACC in blocks, including 11 against Marist.
Having said that, Walker’s development has been slow. Last year he finally saw some legit minutes (starting nine games). He saw roughly 18 minutes per game on the court, but outside of blocks, his stats never took a major bump up.
He scored in double figures only twice, never rebounding in double figures. Overall he averaged 3.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. For the season he shot just .453 from the floor, unacceptable for a man who plays so close to the rim.
As Wake’s season collapsed last year, Walker eventually would lose his starting job to freshman seven-footer, Carson Desrosiers.
Here’s the knock of Walker. He may be tall, but he’s rail thin. He’s done a decent job gaining weight (he’s up to 230-ish), but that’s still small. The sad part is, during his sophomore year, former head coach Dino Gregory asked Walker to red-shirt. He refused. The reality is the kid could have really used that extra year to bulk up and develop his skills.
Of course his weight isn’t the only problem. While Walker has shown some skills, particularity in creating his own shot down low, he’s been a tragic finisher. He also makes too many mental mistakes, missing assignments, not blocking out, giving weak screens up top, etc. It’s the little things that will keep him off the floor.
Now looking ahead, Wake Forest is thin in the paint. Head coach Jeff Bzdelik has some decisions to make. Does he go small with three guards, moving Travis McKie to the 4-spot, or does he go traditional and start sophomore power forward Melvin Tabb?
At center, it comes down to Walker and Carson Desrosiers again. The fact is, neither was really impressive last year. However, Desrosiers has an excuse…he was just a freshman.
The Demon Deacons will improve this year, but they are still extremely young. This season, like last, will be about the future. That’s why my money is on Desrosiers starting. Either way though, Walker will get his minutes, so expect 17-21 minutes per game coming off the bench.
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