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Walker definitely best NCAA player still chasing title

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POSTED March 25, 2011 1:07 a.m.
Back on March 28, 2009, Kemba Walker came into Connecticut’s West Regional final against the Missouri Tigers and dropped 23 points, leading his Huskies to a thrilling 82-75 win and ushering the Huskies into that season’s Final Four.

And back then, he was only a freshman.

The only thing that’s changed for Walker since his explosive debut as a skinny 6-foot-1 freshman is his expectant tax bracket. Each of the past two seasons Walker has seen his NBA stock rise and with Thursday’s 36 point effort in Connecticut’s 74-67 upset win over No. 2 seed San Diego State, that trend will continue.

Walker is as impressive a player as we have seen in college basketball this season. I am well aware of the BYU kid that didn’t violate his universities Honor Code, but as of the time of press his college career is now complete.

Walker is a graduating senior academically, but has only used three years of his eligibility on the hardwood. If he were to return for his senior year in Storrs he would undoubtedly be the best NCAA player returning, but he’s going for the cash.

This kid has shown time-and-time again that he is the nation’s most dominant player. He rolled into the Big Dance on the heels of leading his squad to the Big East Tournament title by winning five games in five days.

He redefined the phrase “obvious choice” when it came to the MVP voting, scoring 130 points in the five games and smashing the tournament scoring record by nearly 50 points. After the title-earning win over Louisville, Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun said Walker “is as special as any player I’ve ever coached” and that’s coming from a guy who’s coached 20 guys in the League.

Walker hasn’t slowed down one iota this tournament, guiding the Huskies to an Elite Eight berth with the San Diego State win. The Huskies led by nine at the half, but needed everyone of Walker’s 23 second-half points to fend off the Aztecs.

I personally hope he keeps going. I’ve got UConn in the Elite Eight on all of my brackets, but two weeks ago I couldn’t see him clawing past Duke. Now, it seems to me that being the best player could very well be enough to land Walker a shot in the Final Four.

Regardless if he makes it to Houston or not, I have enjoyed watching Walker since I first saw him come off the bench against Seton Hall his freshman year. It would be nice to see him close out his three-year run through the Big Least with a national title, but knowing that he’ll finally be recognized as the best college player in the tournament this weekend will definitely suffice.
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