Last Ball in U-Hall: Walker Was Wonderful

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Wonderful Wally Walker scored 1,849 points in his career with the Cavaliers.

Wally Walker could have gone to school pretty much anywhere he wanted.

The highly recruited 6-foot-6 forward from Millersville, Pennsylvania, was sought after by more than a dozen institutions, including perpetual top 10 North Carolina. But after seeing the success a fellow Pennsylvania native found in Charlottesville in 1971-72, Walker was convinced he belonged in a Cavalier uniform.

“Barry [Parkhill] had a whole lot to do with me coming to Virginia,” Walker said of the junior who averaged 21.6 points per game to help lead the Cavaliers to their first 20-win season since 1928. “Because of his great junior year when he was ACC Player of the Year and Virginia was nationally ranked, I was recruited and what I could see was Virginia didn’t have the tradition of some of the other schools but they proved they could be very competitive in the ACC. That was very important to me. I really liked the idea of getting in on the ground floor of a program that was starting to grow.”

Parkhill passed the torch on to Walker and the forward did not disappoint, scoring 1,849 points over his four seasons and leading Virginia to its first and only ACC Championship in the program history. He was the fifth player chosen in the 1976 NBA Draft after averaging 22.1 points per game his senior season, and his No. 41 was retired by the Cavaliers.

But before he even set foot on the basketball court, Walker set a milestone for Virginia – becoming the first blue-chip recruit to commit to the Cavaliers

“He was recruited heavily by North Carolina and he was one of the few kids in that era where it came down to Virginia and North Carolina and he actually came to Virginia,” said Jim Hobgood, co-captain with Parkhill during Walker’s freshman season in 1972-73.
Parkhill and Hobgood led the Cavaliers to a No. 6 national ranking and an 18-1 record to start the 1971-72 season, helping lure Walker to UVa.

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