Career getting on track with Tritons

Finding his groove

Righetti grad continued to improve at UC San Diego
2014-03-15T23:17:00Z 2014-03-15T23:20:59Z Finding his grooveKenny Cress/kcress@santamariatimes.com Santa Maria Times

Hunter Walker helped lead Righetti’s boys basketball team to a CIF Southern Section divisional championship game when he was a high school senior in 2012.

He saw a lot of good high school basketball players along the way. As a freshman at UC San Diego, it didn’t take him long to come to a realization.

“They were all good in high school,” he said.

“It was probably halfway through my first year here — that’s when I felt I had fully adjusted to the speed. The players at this level are a lot better than the competition I’d faced before.”

Since the 6-foot-4 inch sophomore adjusted himself to college level basketball competition, his production has steadily increased for the Tritons.

He played in 23 of the team’s 26 games last season and didn’t start in any. Walker did play enough to letter.

This year, he started in 25 of UC San Diego’s 26 games, and his points production average just about doubled.

After averaging 4.7 points a game his freshman season, he averaged 9.2 for a Tritons squad that finished 15-11, including 11-11 in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and missed making the conference tournament by one game. The 15 overall wins were the most for the Tritons since the 2008-09 season.

Walker’s scoring average was fifth-highest on the team. His rebounding average improved from 1.1 per game to 4.7. He took 14 free throws during his freshman year and made nine. His percentage from the line his sophomore season was a solid 76.5 percent, 62-for-81.

Walker’s career-high game was on Jan. 14 against Cal State Monterey Bay. He poured in 25 points that game and went 9-for-14 from the floor. For the year, Walker was 82-for-204 on field goal attempts, including 21-for-77 from 3-point range. 

Walker spoke to the Times just after the Tritons’ season ended.

“I think after the first year, some of my role on my team expanded,” he said. “I knew I needed to be more of a factor.”

Walker said, “I was also more confident because I had a good first year here. My coach (Eric Owen) believed in me, and that’s what helped.”

The Tritons were in contention to make the CCAA tournament down the homestretch of the regular season. They came up just short.

“During the last week of games, if we had won both, we would have been guaranteed a playoff spot,” said Walker. “We lost to (San Francisco State) by a point, then we won the next day.

“(San Francisco State) just edged us out. They finished sixth (in the league standings). We finished seventh.”

Hunter Walker, like his younger brother, the highly-recruited Cameron who is a junior at Righetti, can play all five positions.

“This year, in a game, I think I played all five positions,” Hunter said.

“At the beginning of the year, I think I started at a three (on the wing). Then I was the back-up point guard.”

Hunter Walker said, “The second part of the year, our starting power forward went out with a torn ACL and I took his spot. I played in the pivot a lot.”

The well-spoken older Walker said he changed his major from management science to economics.

“I’m minoring in accounting,” he said. “I want to become a CPA.”

Before he focuses on an accounting career, Walker will seek to keep the momentum he generated during his sophomore year of college going into his junior one.

Copyright 2015 Santa Maria Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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