Ex-Coach’s Assessment Of ‘Magical’ Kemba Walker Is Out Of This World


Oct 23, 2019

Jim Calhoun mentored a lot of future stars during his 26 years as the men’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut.

Few, if any, made an impression like Kemba Walker.

The Athletic’s Jay King detailed Walker’s college career in an in-depth piece published Tuesday, and Calhoun’s praise for the former UConn standout was out of this world — literally.

“I just know that you can put Kemba on the moon,” Calhoun told King. “And if there are Martians there or aliens there, they’d probably like to play with him.”

Walker’s leadership is well documented. Not only did he guide the Huskies to a national title in 2011. He since has garnered the respect of his peers across the NBA while evolving into an All-Star point guard.

The 29-year-old, who spent his first eight seasons with the Charlotte Hornets organization before landing with the Boston Celtics this summer, already is drawing rave reviews with his new team, which is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018-19 campaign and an offseason that saw both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford leave in free agency. This certainly comes as no surprise to Calhoun, who retired from UConn in 2012 and returned to coaching in 2018 with the University of Saint Joseph (Division III).

“On the backside of my career, Kemba was a gift,” Calhoun told King. “It was like the basketball gods making up for my one-point losses. Once in a while you just get a kid who just is magical. And he was magical as far as a person, player.

“He’s a special guy, to be honest. He’s unique. I really believe that. And because he’s so disarming, and not in a bullshit sort of way — he’s not, like, there to charm you. He’s there to be who he is. And he’s very unique. And I do think that it carries over to the court.”

Basically, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with anything negative to say about Walker — on this planet or elsewhere.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images
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