Surging Walker may stay a Bullet

November 12, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

As the errant shot left the hands of Washington Bullets guard Doug Overton, it appeared that the two New York Knicks who had surrounded the basket would have to fight each other for the rebound. But suddenly, as the ball bounced off the front of the rim, Bullets forward Kenny Walker soared through the lane and rammed the ball through the hoop with two hands.

It's the kind of play that led the Knicks to draft Walker in 1986 and that helped earn him the nickname "Sky." Now Walker is hoping it's the kind of play that will help him stay on the Washington team.

Unless someone lands on the injured list before Wednesday's game against Milwaukee, Walker or someone else might be playing his last game as a Bullet tonight. That's because 7-foot-7 center Gheorghe Muresan, who was placed on the injured list last week with chicken pox, is set to join the active roster. Muresan shot around at the USAir Arena before the New York game and practiced yesterday.

Most likely to go is one of three free agents: Walker, Mitchell Butler or Tito Horford. But Walker, based on his play the past two games, probably has earned an extended stay.

Walker, an All-American at Kentucky, played a team-high 41 minutes against the Knicks. He had 18 points and 14 rebounds, and played all three frontcourt positions -- at times being matched against center Patrick Ewing.

"I loved it," Walker said about his brief battle with the 7-foot all-star, one of his closest friends when he was with the Knicks. "But I wouldn't want to guard him all the time."

After playing eight total minutes in Washington's first two games, Walker's role expanded Tuesday, when he played 21 minutes and scored six points in the Bullets' 118-112 win at Detroit. Injuries to forwards Tom Gugliotta and Don MacLean and the ejection of center Kevin Duckworth forced coach Wes Unseld to play Walker extensively.

"I had no idea I would get as much playing time as I did, or that I would get into a groove like I did," Walker said. "I think I can make things happen with my jumping ability and my quickness."

The former NBA slam-dunk king did most of his damage Wednesday in the second quarter, when he had nine points and eight rebounds.

On the court, Walker is extremely active and not afraid to throw his body in the mix, which he proved with seven offensive rebounds -- one less than the rest of his team combined -- against the Knicks.

"My goal has been always to play with a lot of intensity," Walker said. "When you're put in a [system] that suits your talent, you have a chance to flourish."



Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers

Site: USAir Arena, Landover

Time: 7:30


Radio: WXZL (103.1 FM), WTEM (570 AM)

Tickets: Many available

Outlook: Philadelphia is 1-3, the only win coming against the Bullets in last week's season opener. Rookie Shawn Bradley, who struggled offensively against the Bullets, is coming off his best game of the season on Wednesday against Boston (11 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals). Washington (1-3) got just 24 points from its starting five in Wednesday's loss to New York. Reserve Don MacLean (16.2 ppg) is the Bullets' leading scorer, while playing a little more than 26 minutes a game.

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