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gw67
07-04-2007, 01:10 PM
The DBR noted that Jimmy Walker, the great from Providence, had died of cancer. The article linked by DBR gave the facts but did not do justice to one of the greatest college players of his time. Well, one of the best basketball writers of all time, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, captured the Walker I remember in the link below:

http://www.boston.com/sports/colleges/mens_basketball/articles/2007/07/04/his_was_a_great_story/

gw67

jimsumner
07-04-2007, 01:55 PM
Walker played back in the days when relatively few games were televised. As good as he was, I'm not sure I ever saw him play on TV at the college level.

Providence and Duke both made the 1966 NCAA East Regional. But Providence lost to St. Joseph's before they got to Duke. Duke then beat St. Joe and Syracuse to go to the FF. Syracuse had a pretty good player themselves, guy by the name of Dave Bing.

Still, it's shocking to hear of someone like Walker dying. 63 just isn't that old.

dkbaseball
07-05-2007, 01:48 AM
My recollection could be faulty, but I seem to remember Walker vaulting into the spotlight in a regional final game against Bill Bradley and Princeton in 1965.

greybeard
07-06-2007, 05:14 PM
Nice article. More an ode to Ryan's youth, than to any real world assessment of Walker's prowess. The 65 tournament was owned by dollar Bill, btw; there was no close second.

dkbaseball
07-06-2007, 05:52 PM
The 65 tournament was owned by dollar Bill, btw; there was no close second.

Yes, and I think Princeton beat Providence by 40 or 50, but Walker dropped 27 on Princeton as a largely unknown sophomore (frosh ineligible then) and definitely got the announcers' attention. I believe that was the first televised college hoops game I ever saw, but I do remember it.

When it came time for Dollar Bill to cash in his celebrity chips as a presidential contender, I was shocked to see that he didn't have that many. Back in '65, tearing through the NCAA tournament before heading off to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, he was the undisputed king of the world. How quickly they forget.

Olympic Fan
07-06-2007, 06:02 PM
Just to set the record straight, Providence played in the NCAA all three of Walker's varsity seasons.

In 1964, The Friars lost a first-round game to Villanova -- which included three future NBA players -- Bill Melchionni (Gary's brother and Lee's uncle), Wally Jones and Jim Washington. The game wasn't close -- 77-66. In the next round, Duke blew out Villanova with Jeff Mullins having the best game of his career (40 points).

In 1965, Providence beat West Virginia, then beat St. Joseph's (Matt Goukas still there?) in OT to reach the regional finals in Columbia, S.C. That's when they faced Princeton and Bradley ruled -- Princeton won 109-69.

In 1966, Providence lost to St. Joseph's in the first round, 65-48. Duke edged St. Joe's, 76-74, in the East semifinals, then beat Syracuse with Dave Bing in the finals. Bing had a lot of trouble against Bubas' zone, but his backcourt mate kept it close with some deadly shooting. The guy wore glasses and already had a receding hairline. I think his name was Jim Boeheim. I wonder what happened to him?

Walker was a consensus first-team All-America in 1966 (along with Cazzie Russell, Clyde Lee, Dane Bing and Dave Schellhase ... Marin and Verga of Duke were second-team picks, along with Goukas and Louie Damphier). Russell swept the player of the year awards.

Walker didn't even make consensus second-team in 1965, when Bradley swept every POY award.

dkbaseball
07-06-2007, 06:11 PM
Just to set the record straight, Providence played in the NCAA all three of Walker's varsity seasons.

In 1964, The Friars lost a first-round game to Villanova -- which included three future NBA players -- Bill Melchionni (Gary's brother and Lee's uncle), Wally Jones and Jim Washington. The game wasn't close -- 77-66. In the next round, Duke blew out Villanova with Jeff Mullins having the best game of his career (40 points).

In 1965, Providence beat West Virginia, then beat St. Joseph's (Matt Goukas still there?) in OT to reach the regional finals in Columbia, S.C. That's when they faced Princeton and Bradley ruled -- Princeton won 109-69.

In 1966, Providence lost to St. Joseph's in the first round, 65-48. Duke edged St. Joe's, 76-74, in the East semifinals, then beat Syracuse with Dave Bing in the finals. Bing had a lot of trouble against Bubas' zone, but his backcourt mate kept it close with some deadly shooting. The guy wore glasses and already had a receding hairline. I think his name was Jim Boeheim. I wonder what happened to him?

Walker was a consensus first-team All-America in 1966 (along with Cazzie Russell, Clyde Lee, Dane Bing and Dave Schellhase ... Marin and Verga of Duke were second-team picks, along with Goukas and Louie Damphier). Russell swept the player of the year awards.

Walker didn't even make consensus second-team in 1965, when Bradley swept every POY award.


To adjust the straightened record a bit: Walker didn't play for the 1963-64 Providence varsity, being an ineligible freshman. In his senior year, 1966-67, he averaged 30 points a game and was the number one pick in the NBA draft by the Pistons.

greybeard
07-06-2007, 06:35 PM
I remember seeing Walker on TV several times. My recollection is he was very, very self-absorbed, with nothing particularly notable about him save his ability to score the ball, which his coach indulged way, way too much. Many other self-absorbed scorers proved far more adaptive when they hit the pros, and contributed much more on the bigger stage than he. As a straight up scorer, there were any number of guys from his era I'd much prefer to watch.