Demetrius Walker Kevin Van Wijk

Another heart-breaking turn in the Demetrius Walker saga


News broke last night that Demetrius Walker had been suspended indefinitely from the New Mexico basketball team for what is being termed a violation of team rules.

“I won’t say any­more about it,” head coach Steve Al­ford told the Albuquerque Journal. “I want to pro­tect him ob­vi­ous­ly. It’s an in­def­i­nite sus­pen­sion and we’ll just see how it plays out the rest of the year.”

It will be a blow to the Lobos’ depth, but in recent weeks Walker’s playing time has been cut. He hasn’t played in the last four games as freshman Cleveland “Pancake” Thomas has passed him on the depth chart. Walker is a fourth-year junior having redshirted during the 2010-2011 season after transferring in from Arizona State. If he graduates in May, he can transfer to another Division I program for his senior season without having to sit out a year.

“Los­ing a team­mate like that for me per­son­al­ly is tough and I think col­lec­tive­ly we’re going to have to come togeth­er and try to move on,” Kendall Williams, who is close with Walker, said. “Get­ting ready for Vegas, you have to lock in your mind. I don’t think I’d be telling the truth if you said you didn’t feel for D-Walk and that the team’s not going to feel it.”

Anyone that knows Walker’s history will agree with that. As a 14 year old, Walker was put on the cover of Sports Illustrated and touted as the next hoops phenom. But, as was chronicled in the terrific book Play Their Hearts Out by George Dohrmann, Walker was taken advantage of throughout his teenage years, forgotten and neglected when the 6-foot-3 14 year old never was still 6-foot-3 as a 17 year old.

Even from afar, it’s tough to watch Walker’s career take another heart-breaking turn for the worse.

The good news?

He should still get his degree, which is more important than anything else at this point, and he still has another year to play.

One can only hope he’ll find success as a hooper wherever he winds up for that season.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
Leave a comment

Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
Leave a comment

We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.