It’s been more than 35 years since Kenny “Sky” Walker was named Mr. Basketball in Georgia, leading his team (Crawford County High School) to back-to-back state titles on his way to being named a Parade and McDonald's All-American (1982).
Walker can now add another honor to his illustrious career when he's officially inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame on February 23-24, 2018, in Macon City, GA.
Known as "Sky" Walker for his high flying dunks, the 6-8 power forward led the Kentucky Wildcats to a four-year record of 102-30, including a Final Four appearance in 1983. He was a two-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year and ranks second in school history in career points with 2,080. He was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame Charter Class in 2005.
As a former Blue Chip recruit, Walker knows first hand what it takes to play in the rough and tumble Southeastern Conference (SEC) and offers some sound advice for those considering an offer from Coach John Calipari and the Wildcats.
"If you’re locked into one position with Coach Calipari, you’re probably not going to play a whole lot," said Walker during a recent public appearance in Lexington. "He wants versatile guys…even with the big guys like Willie Cauley-Stein and Demarcus Cousins…they’re seven foot guys, but they can go out on the floor and defend smaller guys. You've also got to be able to get up and down the floor to play that dribble drive, uptempo style."
As for securing another top-tier recruit from the Class of 2018 (Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Quentin Grimes, etc.), Walker has the perfect closing argument for those chasing NBA dreams. After all, Walker was the No. 5 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, playing for the New York Knicks (1986-1991) and winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest (1989).
“I think it’s probably the best system in college basketball in terms of getting kids ready for the NBA,” said Walker of the Kentucky program. “That’s why they want to come here…they see how many guys we’re putting into the league and we have a great history and tradition on top of that. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
In looking at this year's UK roster, Walker said he's looking forward to seeing some big bodies on the court with front line options that include Nick Richards (6-11), Sacha Killeya-Jones (6-10), Tai Wynyard (6-10), Wenyen Gabriel (6-9), Kevin Knox (6-9) and Jarred Vanderbilt (6-9).
“I think it’s going to be a very long, athletic team so that’s what I’m looking to see, especially at the forward and center positions," said Walker. "We’ve got a lot of interchangeable guys so I think they’re going to be fun to watch."
One things for sure...you could never take your eyes off Kenny "Sky" Walker.