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April 14, 2008

Walker also declares for NBA Draft

Kansas State freshman forward Bill Walker has declared himself eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft without signing with an agent. Walker made the announcement on the same day as teammate Michael Beasley who declared in a press conference his intentions to forego his remaining three years of college eligibility and begin preparations for the NBA Draft.

By not hiring an agent, Walker leaves open the possibility that he could take his name out of the draft and return to Kansas State for his sophomore season. In compliance with NCAA rules, Walker would have to withdraw 10 days prior to the June 26 draft to retain his college eligibility.

Walker averaged 16.1 points on 46.5 percent shooting (181-of-389), including 30.7 percent (35-of-114) from 3-point range, with 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game this season. He ranked second to Beasley in nearly every statistical category, including scoring, double-digit scoring (25), 20-point games (nine), double-doubles (four), rebounding, blocks, field goals, free throws (101) and free throw percentage (73.7). His averages were even higher in Big 12 play, where he averaged 16.6 points on 47.2 percent shooting with 6.1 rebounds in 27.6 minutes per game.

Walker earned numerous accolades after the season, including third team freshman All-America distinction from CBS Sports.com and CollegeHoops.net and freshman All-America honors by CollegeInsider.com. He was named to the All-Big 12 second team by the Kansas City Star, while he was a third team selection by both the league coaches and The Associated Press. He was also selected to several all-district squads, including the U.S Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District VI team and to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 12 second team.

Walker and company helped Kansas State post a 21-12 overall record in 2007-08, including a third-place finish in the Big 12 with a 10-6 mark. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nearly 12 years and captured its first NCAA Tournament win since 1988 with their 80-67 victory over USC in the first round of the Midwest Regional in Omaha, Neb., on March 20. The team has now posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in nearly 20 years, while the 10 conference wins tie the 2006-07 squad for the best league record in the Big 12 era. The third-place finish is the best since the inception of the Big 12 and the highest since the 1988-89 team finished third in the Big Eight.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 26, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


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