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317Kim
10-17-2005, 06:30 AM
http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051017/SPORTS04/510170423

October 17, 2005


Walker changes his ways
NBA veteran, trying for Pacers' final roster spot, says he's more focused and prepared

By Mike Wells
<SCRIPT language=JavaScript><!--document.write(''+'mike.wells'+'@'+'indystar.com'+ ' (+)');//--></SCRIPT>mike.wells@indystar.com (mike.wells@indystar.com)


Samaki Walker had it all.

The fame. The fortune. The talent.

Now, almost 10 years later, Walker is considered just another NBA journeyman trying to latch on with a team.
Walker, vying for the Indiana Pacers' final roster spot, knows it. He knows people wonder how he got in this position of attempting to catch the eye of a team so that he can prolong his career.
"Basically, I pretty much put myself in this situation, not always being prepared," he said Sunday afternoon. "There's no pointing the blame at anybody else. It's a maturity thing on my part."
Walker, the No. 9 overall pick by Dallas in the 1996 draft that featured Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Jermaine O'Neal, has never lived up to his potential. The 6-9 forward has played on five teams and he's never averaged more than 8.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game. His best season was the same year he won a championship ring. Walker averaged 6.7 points and 7.0 rebounds in a career-high 24 minutes with the 2001-02 Los Angeles Lakers.
The reason behind the underachieving play?
The fame and fortune.
Walker wasn't prepared for what awaited him when he left Louisville following his sophomore season. He was more interested in late-night partying than letting his body get the proper rest.
"I've never been arrogant or anything like that, but I was definitely a legitimate lottery pick," Walker said. "People knew my potential and what I could do, but I was hanging out late and partying all the time. It took its toll. At that point in time, basketball became second to partying.
"I had never been exposed to that type of lifestyle. I was na´ve coming in and allowing other people to come into my life and control things instead of listening to myself at times."
Walker talks openly about his downfalls not because he wants pity, but rather because he wants others to learn from his mistakes.
"It's a good-bad situation," he said. "It's bad from a career standpoint because potential-wise, I should be at a higher level at this point in my career.
"My thing is, I've done a lot of growing up and I'm not concerned with what other people think. There are other players that are probably in the same predicament I was in years ago at this point in time. If they hear somebody say it, hopefully they can hear it and realize they can straighten up."
A shortage of big men has given Walker, 29, the inside track on the Pacers' final roster spot over Damone Brown and Jimmie Hunter. Jeff Foster, David Harrison and Scot Pollard are all out with injuries.
"When you consider the fact that we have three of our big men out and he's one of the big guys in camp that's playing well, it means we're fortunate to have him here and it could be a situation that works out. We'll see," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "There's no question there's a change in (Walker's) attitude. He's concentrating on things that are winning aspects of the game.
"He's doing little things like being a great screener, being real active off the ball. He's improved his mid-range shooting and he's a guy that can score in the post a lot better than people think. He's an NBA player, no doubt."
Etc.
The Pacers released Desmon Farmer to bring their roster to 17. . . . Foster (Achilles), Pollard (calf) and Harrison (abdominal strain) did not practice Sunday.



Thats too bad for Desmon...better him than Snap ;) . I'm hoping we get either Hulk or Pollard within the week since it looks like Feisty's out for a while :( . I think JO might play tuesday :shrug:

BigMac
10-17-2005, 09:23 AM
I am wondering if the 15th and final roster spot is coming down to either Gill or Jimmy Hunter? We don't need (at least I don't think) four point guards (really 5 with Freddie Jones), and Jimmy Hunter seems to play larger than his listed size of 6'4". Would we trade Gill for a future 2nd rounder to someone who doesn't think 2nd rounders at worth anything and needs a backup point guard who is professional and for lack of a better work, spunky? I don't know. But I see that it may play out that way and have Jimmy Hunder play in the NBDL as the final roster spot.

Now all of this may be moot because maybe I don't have an understanding on how the 15th player works but please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

Hicks
10-17-2005, 09:27 AM
BigMac, we have 14 players signed. We can sign one guy without having to cut/waive anybody.

Frank Slade
10-17-2005, 11:15 AM
As much as I was impressed in Camp and Summer league with Hunter.. if it comes down to need Samaki has shown some really good things . and rebounding thank god is one of them, I would think now if anyone is the 15th man it is him....

kybjones
10-17-2005, 02:35 PM
I am wondering if the 15th and final roster spot is coming down to either Gill or Jimmy Hunter? We don't need (at least I don't think) four point guards (really 5 with Freddie Jones), and Jimmy Hunter seems to play larger than his listed size of 6'4". Would we trade Gill for a future 2nd rounder to someone who doesn't think 2nd rounders at worth anything and needs a backup point guard who is professional and for lack of a better work, spunky? I don't know. But I see that it may play out that way and have Jimmy Hunder play in the NBDL as the final roster spot.

Now all of this may be moot because maybe I don't have an understanding on how the 15th player works but please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

You're only choice with Gill is to keep him or release him at twice the cost of his salary (luxury tax). He has no trade value... not even a 2nd rounder.

jmoney2584
10-18-2005, 05:00 AM
whats this about Harrison having an abdominal strain? did they finally diagnose the pain in his side or what? i haven't caught wind of this yet...

317Kim
10-18-2005, 06:21 AM
whats this about Harrison having an abdominal strain? did they finally diagnose the pain in his side or what? i haven't caught wind of this yet...



Where's Harrison?
David Harrison also won't be returning to the lineup anytime soon.
Harrison's torn abdominal muscle will sideline him for the next 10 to 14 days.
"He's doing better," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "These things can be temperamental. It's tricky because you have to lay off it for it to heal."
The center has been limited in practice for more than a week. He describes the pain as someone "stabbing him."
"It's pretty irritating, but luckily it happened now," Harrison said. "When games count toward the record I can definitely be out there. It's frustrating, but a part of life."

:thumbup:

Pacers#1Fan
10-18-2005, 09:58 AM
Well, I'm going to get my own first hand view of Samaki tonight. I hope I'm impressed.

317Kim
10-18-2005, 05:57 PM
Well, I'm going to get my own first hand view of Samaki tonight. I hope I'm impressed.

I hope so too! :pray: :D