A plan is in place, and David Walker is eager to execute it.
Walker is a senior basketball player at Stow-Munroe Falls High School returning to form after an injury that has limited him to four games this season.
When he is healthy, he is the Bulldogs’ starting point guard with an eye toward the future.
Walker, 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, has a basketball scholarship awaiting him at Northeastern University in Boston.
His excitement isn’t just about basketball.
He is equally intrigued by the academic opportunities at Northeastern.
“I have always wanted to go into medicine,” Walker said. “It was just what part did I want to go into? I have decided I am going into sports medicine. I have always liked sports, too, so I thought it would be a good combination.”
Walker, who has a 3.75 grade-point average, said he plans to attend Northeastern University for four years and then after graduation go to Tufts University School of Medicine for another four years.
“If I have good grades — a 3.5 GPA after my sophomore year at Northeastern — I can get accepted to Tufts,” Walker said.
“The pre-medicine opportunity was definitely one of the big reasons I picked Northeastern, but I also really like the coaching staff and the players there. They made me feel very welcomed.”
Walker, a right-handed player, suffered a broken bone in his left wrist in a game against host Cuyahoga Falls on Dec. 16. He continued to play in that game and then against Solon with a brace on Dec. 20.
Stow coach Dave Close said an initial X-ray revealed nothing, but Walker visited with another doctor who detected a break in a bone on an MRI.
Walker has since been limited to practice and has missed Stow’s seven most recent games.
Close said Walker’s status is uncertain for Friday’s game at Barberton and Sunday’s game against Allderdice (Pa.) in the Dunk 4 Diabetes event at Walsh University.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Close said. “We’re not sure yet.”
Close said he enjoys working with Walker, and he is happy with his progression as a student-athlete.
“David plans to major in pre-medicine and he is going to fulfill the dream of playing Division I basketball, which is very demanding with practices, games and travel,” Close said. “Then you combine that with the competitive academic part that will be very demanding in terms of time, too.”
Fast start to this season
Walker was quite comfortable on the court this season for the Bulldogs, who were 4-0 with him in the lineup and are 4-3 without him.
In those four games, Walker averaged 23.5 points, 6.0 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal.
“I like to drive to the hoop a lot,” Walker said. “I have a pretty good jump shot, too. I can shoot over people because of my height.”
Walker scored 20 points in Stow’s season-opening 58-43 win Dec. 2 against visiting Green and then scored 38 points on Dec. 13 in a 57-46 win while hosting Strongsville.
“David is a 6-foot-6 point guard, which makes him unique,” Close said. “He can score and he can pass quite well, and he is bright on the floor. He understands the game and is pretty efficient on the court. He doesn’t waste a lot of motion. He uses his hands and feet well, and is also a good defender.
“A lot of people look at him at 6-foot-6 and they think he can’t be a point guard. But he really is a point guard. He is best at being a facilitator. He makes people around him better. He gets people the ball where they can score. He would prefer to pass, but this year he will need to score more for us. That goes against his personality. He is a team-first guy.”
Solid junior season
Walker was on the varsity team as a freshman and is in his third year as a starter.
Last season, Walker earned the Northeast Ohio Conference River Division Player of the Year, was an Associated Press first-team All-Northeast Ohio Inland District selection in Division I and an All-Ohio Special Mention.
Stow went 22-3 last season, winning the NOC River Division championship with a 14-0 mark and Division I sectional and district titles at Copley before finishing as the regional runner-up at Toledo.
Walker averaged 15 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds and made 76 percent of his free throws, 49 percent of his 2-point field goals and 47 percent of his 3-point shots.
“In our community we follow our kids for years,” Close said. “We have seen David around the gym and the classroom since we he was in elementary school. He has always succeeded in both environments, in the classroom and the gymnasium. It is not a surprise he has maintained that high standard. He also gets a lot of support from his parents.”
Walker’s parents, Cheryll and David, were high school athletes, and his father lettered one season on the University of Akron men’s basketball team. Cheryll is a 5-10 former track sprinter and softball player at Madison High School in Lake County. David is a 6-3 former basketball player at Ellet.
David’s brother, Rob, 22, is a senior at UA majoring in education. He graduated from Stow after competing in football, basketball and track and field.
Shipping up to Boston
David Walker also had scholarship offers from Cleveland State, Kent State, Youngstown State, St. Francis (Pa.) and Gardner Webb. The big-city feel of Boston intrigued him.
“I like how you can walk around everywhere,” Walker said. “You don’t really need a car. You can just walk around from restaurant to restaurant, and go to the mall and other places.”
Before Walker makes the transition to Boston, he has unfinished business in Stow.
Seniors Kyle Scelza and Mike Waggoner and sophomore Matt Beech have started all 11 games for the Bulldogs this season. Scelza, 5-foot-10 and 150 pounds, has been the top scorer with Walker sidelined and is averaging 22.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 4.6 3-pointers.
Whenever Walker does return, he and Scelza will give Stow one of the best 1-2 scoring options in the state.
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/varsity_letters/. Also follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.