Thomas Walkup is a Player Every Team Should Want
Thomas Walkup became a famous name in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Now, he is hoping to hear his name called on draft night come June 23rd 2016.
As a 6’4 point guard, Walkup proved to be the best player in the Southland Conference. He was awarded the Southland Conference Player of the Year Award in both his junior and senior seasons. He was the catalyst of the 28-6 Lumberjacks as they went on to upset West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament, and then go on to lose on a buzzer beater to Notre Dame in the Round of 32. Walkup had an outstanding career at Stephen F. Austin, as he put on amazing performances game in and game out.
Walkup was huge in the Lumberjacks win over West Virginia, including when he hit this stellar three-pointer.
Walkup posted the Lumberjacks first triple-double in nearly half century during his senior season. The Lumberjacks beat Incarnate Word 84-58, as Walkup notched 12 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists in the 26 point win.
Walkup was also awarded the Lou Henson National Player of the Year, which goes to the nation’s top mid-major level player. He beat out Wichita State guard Ron Baker and Louisiana Lafayette center Shawn Long for the award. He was not only the first Stephen F. Austin player to receive the award, but he was the first player in the Southland Conference to win it.
He has broken many of the biggest records at Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks won four straight Southland Conference regular season titles with Walkup on the roster. They are the only team in league history to win the conference four years straight. SFA was also the only team last season to go undefeated in league play. He might be the best player to ever go through the Lumberjacks program.
He finished his career at SFA as the all time leading scorer, with 1,744 points, and rebounder, 754. He is SFA’s all time leading rebounder as a point guard, that is quite the achievement. Walkup also made the most field goals in school history. Most impressively, he is the school’s all time winner, with 116 wins in his career.
Last season, he was consistently scoring 20 to even 30 points a night. He was the biggest contributor and leader on the Lumberjacks by far.
Thomas Walkup had the quite the career at Stephen F. Austin, and he is looking to prove critics wrong as he looks to be selected in this year’s NBA Draft.
I had the opportunity to speak with Walkup, as he has been working out for numerous teams. He spoke to me about how he has gone through workouts and how he has prepared for the NBA Draft.
“I’m going into workouts and playing with the same toughness and grit” (that he played with in college), Walkup said. “I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m going in there and playing the same game that I’ve always played.”
Walkup was able to play his game at SFA pretty well. All the records he accumulated in his career show that.
As the Pistons continue their search for a backup point guard, they have no reason to look past Walkup. He is the perfect fit. “There’s not a system that you would be able to put where I wouldn’t fit and be able to play any position that they would need me to.”
Walkup said he could play point guard and shooting guard , which is exactly what Detroit will be targeting in the draft and free agency. “I see myself playing the combo guard and being able to guard the one and two,” Walkup said.
The only flaw in Walkup’s game is his three-point shooting, which he said is quickly improving. Walkup would not call his long-range shooting a weakness, but an area is improving on. Besides his shooting, his game is well-rounded for a NBA prospect.
When I last talked to him last Wednesday, he told me he had worked out for the Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Houston Rockets, before working out with the Pistons.
Thomas Walkup had a great college career, and any NBA team would be smart to take him in the draft. He has all the makeup of a steal pick in the making come June 23rd.
Featured image via: USA Today Sports