Kemba Walker is too small. No wait, he's not quick enough. He's not a high-flyer.
Those were the arguments critics used to tear down Walker through the first two years of his career in Storrs. Somehow, some way, he's managed to quiet most of the pundits. So much so that one Eastern Conference scout said: "He's played himself into the lottery."
Walker again proved his worth as he drained a jumper as time expired to lift UConn to a 76-74 win over Pitt in Big East quarterfinal on Thursday. "I wasn't really a big scorer in high school," Walker said. "I was more of a defensive player."
You wouldn't know it if you'd seen Walker play this year. Huskies coach Jim Calhoun called Walker the best player in the country.
"Kemba has made a ton of big shots this year and like I said, I think he's the most important guy for a single team in college basketball," Calhoun said.
Walker wasn't pleased with his overall performance, but said his game-winning jumper was "special".
"I missed a couple of shots before that and my teammates had confidence in me," he said. "They told me take this last shot and win the game for us. And that's what I did and there is nothing like doing it in your hometown."
Walker played high school basketball at Rice in Harlem under current St. John's director of basketball operations Mo Hicks.