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Basketball Program History Jimmy Walker - Greatest Friar Of Them All When the news came from Kansas City that Jimmy Walker had passed away after a battle with cancer, Friar fans everywhere knew that a singular talent in the constellation of Providence College stars was gone forever. Walker hailed from Boston and established himself as a playground legend in the days before the internet and ESPN helped to make stars out of high schoolers. In fact, Walker was a relative unknown in recruiting circles. Providence discovered Walker when his aunt, the mother of Friar Bill Blair, remarked to assistant coach Dave Gavitt, “If you think my son is good, you should see my nephew.” Gavitt was dispatched to watch Walker and returned to tell Joe Mullaney that “we have to get this kid.” Boston Celtic star Sam Jones guided Walker to Laurinburg Prep to work on his grades, and when Walker entered PC, he led the Friar freshman team to a perfect 21-0 record. As a varsity superstar, Walker was unstoppable. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, The Walk was bigger than most guards of the day and used his size, strength and ballhandling ability to get wherever he wanted to on the court. Walker dazzled opponents by dribbling between his legs, something that no one had seen before, and his shooting range was unlimited. As a sophomore, the Friars started the season with 19straight wins, reached the NCAA Elite Eight and finished the year ranked fourth in the nation. Walker led the way, averaging 20.5 ppg while distributing the ball flawlessly. For his efforts, he was named a Second Team All-American. In his junior year, Walker again led the Friars to the NCAAs, while averaging 24.5 ppg. That included a 50-point outburst against Boston College in the Holiday Festival in Madison Square Garden, tying Oscar Robertson’s MSG record. Already, the media was referring to Walker as the second coming of Robertson, and he made First Team All-America. His senior year was his best. Walker led the nation in scoring with a 30.4 ppg average, and he recorded eight games of 40 or more points. A unanimous First Team All-American, Walker graduated with the school scoring record, notching 2,045 points in only three seasons, and he averaged 25.2 ppg for his career, all in the days before the three-point shot. In 81 games, Walker had led the Friars to 67 wins. For his efforts, Walker became the first and only player from a New England school to be picked number one in the NBA draft, selected by the Detroit Pistons to be their point guard. Although Walker never reached the heights in the pros that he had in college, he played nine years in the NBA, and averaged 16.7 ppg for his career. He was a two time All-Star and averaged over 20 ppg twice during his career with the Pistons and the Kansas City Kings. For Friar fans who remember him, there can never be another like Walker; a whirling dervish who was unguardable by opposing players, drove opposing coaches to tears, and scored effortlessly from all over the court. Truly a Friar that was one of a kind. 100

Section 7 - Tradition Part 4

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