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June 26, 2008

Walker lands with Celtics in second round

Kansas State freshman forward Bill Walker was selected with the No. 47 pick in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards at the NBA's annual draft event on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Walker was then traded by the Wizards to the world champion Boston Celtics for cash considerations.

Walker becomes the second Wildcat to be taken in this year's draft, following teammate Michael Beasley who was selected with the No. 2 overall pick by the Miami Heat. They are the first Wildcat teammates to chosen in the same NBA Draft since 1982 when three players - Tyrone Adams (3rd round), Randy Reed (7th round) and Ed Nealy (8th round) - were drafted. It marks the 15th time in school history (1951, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1982 and 2008) that two players have been taken in the same draft.


A native of Huntington, W.Va., Walker is the fifth player in school history to be taken in the second round of the NBA Draft, joining Jack Stone (11th pick, Baltimore Bullets, 1951), Lew Hitch (20th pick, Minneapolis Lakers, 1951), Norris Coleman (38th pick, L.A. Clippers, 1987) and Steve Henson (44th pick, Milwaukee Bucks, 1990).

Walker could become the second Kansas State player to ever play for the Boston Celtics. He would join Ernie Barrett, who averaged 4.9 points in 131 games for the Celtics from 1953-56.

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 K-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.


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