Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

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Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Mon Jan 24, 2011 6:37 am

Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

By Jim Fuller, New Haven Register, Conn.

Jan. 23--STORRS -- Samarie Walker's career at UConn, which came to an end when she announced her decision to transfer late last week, almost ended much earlier than that.

A source close to the situation said that Walker first told the UConn coaches in October that she wanted to give up basketball and leave, only to be talked into staying by coach Geno Auriemma. Walker seemed to respond and became a valuable member of the squad, playing in the first 17 games and starting against Lehigh.

However, when Walker returned to school after the Christmas break, the problems returned. It all boiled over on Jan. 15. The source indicated that Auriemma asked Walker if she wanted to return to the game against Louisville in the second half and the freshman forward had no response.

Walker did not play the final 15 minutes, 26 seconds against the Cardinals, even though the Huskies were without the services of junior guard Tiffany Hayes because of a concussion.

That led to Auriemma leaving Walker behind when the team traveled to play at No. 11-ranked North Carolina. Walker tweeted that "lesson learned" leading to speculation that she would be back with the team when they practiced again on Thursday.

When the team returned from Chapel Hill, N.C., UConn senior forward Maya Moore met with Walker and informed the coaching staff that Walker didn't seem to be in a hurry to rejoin the team.

On Thursday, Walker told the coaching staff that she didn't want to play any longer. Then she said she would consider playing for the rest of the season but would transfer at season's end, a scenario that was quickly shot down by Auriemma.

At that point, Auriemma had Walker call her mother, and in the presence of the rest of the coaching staff, she was told to let her mother know what her intentions were. The result was an emotional give and take between mother and daughter.

Walker, who chose not to comment, announced the next day that she would be transferring to Kentucky. Since she did not play in any games after the beginning of classes in the spring semester, Walker will have 3 1/2 seasons of eligibility and will be eligible to play after the end of the fall 2011 semester.

"I had no idea she was considering Kentucky," Auriemma said. "All I can tell you is what she told me and what she told the other coaches and what she told the other players -- that she had lost in her interest in playing basketball. It had nothing to do with playing time, what position she was playing, anything of that nature. Academics. Nothing. It all had to do with, Coach, coaches, I just don't want to play basketball any more.' So when I came back from New York (on Friday) and someone told me that she's enrolling at Kentucky Monday, that was as big a shock to me as anything that I've heard. And I wish her the best of luck."

For anybody wondering whether UConn is planning to add any players besides the three signed recruits, the only player in the current recruiting class the Huskies are still pursuing is Australian Gretel Tippett, who is playing for the Logan Thunder of Australia's WNBL. There is a possibility that Tippett heads over to check out a UConn game before the end of the regular season, but details needs to be worked out before the talented 6-foot-4 Tippett heads to the U.S.

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Re: Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

Post  Bho on Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:09 pm

Huge get for UK Hoops. Props to Mitchell.


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Re: Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

Post  kywildcat4 on Thu Jan 27, 2011 6:58 pm

Very Awesome get by the lady Cats.Having the ladies team moving up is awesome for UK sports.

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Re: Walker wanted out, finally got her wish

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