THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE THIRD PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT IS A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS DAVID WALKER.
A native of Stow, OH, Walker spent four years at Northeastern University. He finished his collegiate career by cementing his name among the top shooters in school history and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years. Since graduating, Walker has embarked on a professional basketball career, which has taken him to Andorra in the ACB, which is widely regarded as one of the top leagues in the world. Currently, David is in his rookie season playing for MoraBanc Andorra.
Q. After your high school career was up, you made the decision to attend Northeastern, what made you make that specific decision? Do you feel slighted that you weren’t given scholarship offers by some bigger name schools?
I decided to go to Northeastern because I felt like I had a chance to really play good minutes as a freshman or even to start. It was just such a family atmosphere on the visit and that really drew me in. I did feel slighted that the offers never came my way from the bigger schools, and really carried that chip on my shoulder when we went up against those top programs. On the other side, had I ended up at a bigger school, I might have not had an impact like I did right away. In the end, I had such a phenomenal experience at Northeastern and am really proud to be associated with such a great school and program.
Q. What was it like winning the Colonial Athletic Association with Northeastern your junior year and making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years?
It’s an unimaginable experience going to the NCAA Tournament. To be able to break such a long drought is amazing. There’s something special about the atmosphere in the NCAA Tournament. It was truly electrifying. We fought hard and almost advanced. I just wish we had the opportunity to play in even more games. It was definitely an experience I will always remember and be very proud of.
Q. After a very impressive collegiate career, you went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. How much does that fuel you to keep proving people wrong?
It definitely fuels me to prove people wrong because I was never a big name. I have confidence in myself that I can play at the highest level. In the end, I believe going undrafted and playing overseas now is going to be a blessing in disguise. I just look forward to waking up and working each and every single day to not only contribute to my current team, but to show others what I am capable of.
Q. Tell us about your experience so far playing in the ACB.
This league is everything people said it was. When I found out that I had the opportunity to play in one of the toughest leagues in the world, I did not hesitate. The level of talent here is great. There are NBA players in this league, and as you saw this past summer, players moved from the ACB to the NBA. On any night, any team can win. It really makes you hold yourself accountable. As individuals and as a team, you have to come focused and ready to play.
Q. What’s it like having to completely adjust your way of life and to move to a different country where there is a cultural adjustment?
It was definitely hard moving to another country. I do think being away from my family during college helped prepare me in a sense for this experience. There are surprisingly a decent amount of English speakers here, which is really helpful. The language barrier can be tough at times, but I’m really enjoying the experience and by now I do feel pretty comfortable.
Q. Give your fans back home an idea of Andorra and what a typical day looks like for you?
I feel very fortunate to be in such a great country and surrounded by so many welcoming people. Andorra is beautiful. This a place and team I’m very proud to represent.
A typical day during the preseason would start with me waking up around 8 or 9 in the morning. I’d always start off with a healthy breakfast to fuel me for the day. From there, I would generally go lift and head to our first practice. Lunch would follow, along with a nap to help recharge and get ready for the second practice at around 5 or 6. When practice was over, it was usually about 7 or 8 at night so we would go eat dinner afterwards. By the time I got home, it would really be time to go to sleep. It was definitely a tough preseason, but now that season has started, the focus is a bit different and I have a lot more time on my hands. I really try to keep myself occupied in my down time by catching up with friends and family back home, and watching a few shows on Netflix.
Q. How was your experience representing the Miami Heat this summer?
Playing for the Heat was a great experience on so many levels. I was just able to learn so many subtle things that go into being a true professional. Just simple things like what to eat for breakfast, getting your legs right, and how to recover in the most efficient way possible. The NBA atmosphere was amazing, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to play for such a historic franchise.
Q. Your versatility has been a major asset to you in your career, and is one thing that really has NBA and international teams intrigued. Do you feel that you are someone who can not only step out and play multiple positions, but guard them as well?
For sure. I think that I can play multiple positions because I’m a great passer and shooter. I think being able to play out of the ball screen well is huge and an asset of mine. I feel as though I will only continue to get better at all of these. On the defensive end, I think I can defend multiple positions due to my size and athleticism. Over time, as I get quicker and stronger, I think my defensive abilities will only improve.
Q. Did you ever envision that basketball would allow you to not only get a free top-level education, but also take you around the world and provide you a career?
Not really! When I played in high school, I didn’t even imagine playing in college until the summer going into my junior year. I was able to continue to develop my game thanks to some great coaching in high school, and eventually had college offers. When I got to college, I wanted to excel and perform at a high level, but never imagined I would play professionally. Once I started hearing about scouts at my games, and different agents contacting my coach, I realized I could use the game I love as a career. It’s truly a blessing to be able to get paid to play basketball, and traveling the world is a great bonus that just happened to come along with it. I love my job.
Q. Anything you would like to say to your fans around the world?
I just want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me since day one! I would tell everyone to just do what makes you happy, because as I’ve realized, being able to go to work every day and love it, is something to never take for granted. I really couldn’t be happier with where I’m at being 22 years old. As they say, if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.