Friars legend Jimmy Walker to be inducted into college basketball Hall of Fame

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Jimmy Walker is widely considered the greatest scorer in Providence history and now he’ll take a place alongside some of the best to ever play college basketball.

The late Friars guard is a member of the latest National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame class, which was announced on Wednesday. Walker will join late former Providence coach Dave Gavitt and former Friars guard Ernie DiGregorio among the program greats who have been enshrined.

Walker died of lung cancer in 2007 at the age of 63. His legacy had long since been secured — the leading scorer per game all-time at Providence and the lone New England college player to be selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. The 6-foot-3-inch shooting guard was ahead of his time thanks to his athleticism, silky ball-handling and ability to collect points by the dozen.

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Walker was a native of the Boston area who prepped in North Carolina before enrolling with the Friars. He averaged 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 81 career games — Providence was a superb 67-14 in his career and reached a pair of NCAA Tournaments. Walker closed with 2,045 career points, which trails only Ryan Gomes and LaDontae Henton in program history.

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Walker’s senior season was among the most dominant ever managed by a member of the Friars. He averaged 30.4 points — still a program record — and accounted for a ridiculous 39.2% of his team’s overall production. Walker’s 851 points in just 28 games remains the all-time high for a Providence player in a single campaign.

Walker played in an era without a 3-point line and before freshmen were eligible to compete with varsity teams. Gomes appeared in 35 more career games while Henton appeared in 54 more. DiGregorio and Joe Hassett — a sharpshooter from distance during his career from 1973-77 — would have been boosted by the additional games and deeper line, respectively.

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Walker earned unanimous first team All-America honors before his draft selection by the Detroit Pistons. He was a two-time All-Star with the club before eventually moving on to Houston and Kansas City. Walker averaged 16.7 points and 3.5 assists over parts of nine seasons, appearing in 698 career games.

Walker’s son, former Michigan guard and current ESPN personality Jalen Rose, spent 13 seasons in the NBA from 1994-2007. Rose was a member of the Fab Five with the Wolverines, the famous group of freshmen who reached national championship games in 1992 and 1993. Walker and Rose never met in person — they were expected to do so around the time of Walker’s death.

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Jimmy Walker goes up for a shot for the Providence Friars. He averaged 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists during his 81 games in three seasons at Providence.
Jimmy Walker goes up for a shot for the Providence Friars. He averaged 25.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists during his 81 games in three seasons at Providence.

College Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2022

Five coaches and three players join Walker in the class. John Beilein, Jim Calhoun, Jerry Krause, Lon Kruger, Roy Williams, Richard Hamilton, Larry Miller and Frank Selvy will be honored at the Nov. 20 induction ceremonies in Kansas City.

John Beilein

Beilein reached an Elite Eight and won an NIT at West Virginia before making another Elite Eight and a pair of national title games at Michigan.

John Beilein, Richard Hamilton: Named to College Basketball Hall of Fame's 2022 class

Jim Calhoun, Richard Hamilton

Calhoun was a three-time national champion at Connecticut and won his first with Hamilton in his backcourt — he was the Big East Player of the Year and the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player in 1999.

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Jerry Krause

Krause spent two decades on the basketball operations side while Gonzaga emerged as a national power in the early 2000s.

Lon Kruge

Kruger is the only Division I men’s coach to reach the NCAA Tournament with five different programs — he guided Florida and Oklahoma to the Final Four in 1994 and 2016, respectively.

Larry Miller

Miller was the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Tournament Most Valuable Player twice under Dean Smith, reaching a pair of Final Fours at North Carolina.

Roy Williams

Williams started his career as an assistant with the Tar Heels and eventually succeeded Smith, winning three national championships at Chapel Hill.

Frank Selvy

Selvy scored 100 points in a single game at Furman and averaged 41.7 as a senior in 1953-54.

Visit halloffameweekend.com for more information.

bkoch@providencejournal.com    

On Twitter: @BillKoch25 

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Basketball legend Jimmy Walker to be inducted into College Basetball Hall of Fame