After making his first shot from behind the arc, University of Illinois Springfield guard Vince Walker knew he was in that special place that all basketball players aspire to be. He was “in the zone”.
The former Ankeny guard went on to score a career-high 29 points in the Prairie Stars’ 92-76 loss at 25th-ranked Wisconsin-Parkside on Jan. 26.
He went 9-of-15 from the field, including 7-of-11 from 3-point range.
The seven 3-pointers allowed Walker to set a single-game school record.
“My teammates got me going pretty early, and it was pretty easy from then on out,” said Walker, a redshirt sophomore. “It was just one of those nights when I was feeling good. The basket was looking pretty big.”
Walker has helped the Prairie Stars to a 7-13 record, including a 2-9 mark in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. He has played in all 20 games, including 17 starts.
Walker is the team’s third-leading scorer with a 12.8 average.
Walker averaged 11.5 points as a senior at Ankeny in the 2013-14 season. However, he missed the final three games after suffering a broken ankle when he slipped on some ice.
Walker then elected to play for Illinois Springfield when his father Bill Walker, a former Drake assistant, became the head coach of the Division II program in April of 2014.
“I had no idea how it would go,” Walker said of playing for his father. “It could have gone a lot of ways.”
Walker played in only three games for the Prairie Stars before his first season ended due to the ankle injury that he sustained at Ankeny. He was granted a medical redshirt.
“The first surgery didn’t go as planned,” Walker said. “So the doctor had to go back in and re-fix it.”
Walker saw action in 28 games last year, averaging 4.4 points in 13.8 minutes per game.
Walker, who turned 21 years old on Jan. 31, has also adapted to playing for his father.
“It’s actually been a lot better than I thought it would be--to be honest,” he said. “I’m really happy to play for him. He gets on me when that’s what I need, and he praises me when I need to be praised. All around, it’s been good.”
This story appeared in The Des Moines Register on February 3, 2017.
Read the entire article online.