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Player of the Decade: Cameron Walker, a once-in-a-generation talent
Player of the Decade

Player of the Decade: Cameron Walker, a once-in-a-generation talent

Could Cameron Walker shoot? 

Yes, he could. 

Could he handle the ball? Absolutely.

Did his athleticism allow him to play above the rim? No doubt. 

Did he have the size and ability to affect games on the defensive end? No question.

Cameron Walker could do just about anything on a basketball court. But that's not what made him special. 

Walker did all those things on the court at an elite and consistent level.

Walker developed a reliable outside shot during his time at Righetti High. He was a very good ball-handler who was able to run the offense or create his own shot.

But, at 6-foot-7, his athleticism, length and size allowed him to do all those things on a higher plane than everyone he was playing against. 

Walker has been chosen as the fourth Player of the Decade nominee. The Times is compiling a list of 16 candidates for its Player of the Decade contest.

Walker was named All-Area MVP in his sophomore and senior seasons and All-Area co-MVP in 2014, his junior year. Kevin Barbarick, currently Righetti's athletic director, coached Walker all four years he was on the varsity team with the Warriors. Barbarick has decades of coaching experience.

"Cameron is the best I've ever coached," Barbarick once said of Walker. "And he has handled everything with such class. Cameron is so humble. He's a good person."

Walker averaged 21 points and 11-plus rebounds a game as a senior. Walker played all five positions on the floor during his prep career.  He averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds a game as a junior, splitting the All-Area MVP award with Cabrillo's Chad Brodhead. 

Not many high school basketball players get recruited to play in the Pac-12. Almost no high school basketball players on the Central Coast get recruited by Pac-12 schools. But Walker was and is likely the most highly sought after boys basketball recruit the area has seen since Derrick Jasper, who went from Paso Robles to Kentucky. 

Walker was recruited by Johnny Dawkins at Stanford and signed with the Cardinal in 2015. Walker played at Stanford in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He did not play in 2017-18 and was medically disqualified by the NCAA ahead of the 2018-19 season, allowing him to stay on scholarship at Stanford but exempting that scholarship from counting against the maximum allotment for the basketball program.

Walker graduated from Stanford last year. 

In high school, Walker played with a grace that belied his explosive athletic ability. This area has rarely seen a player able to fly through the air for dunks of game-changing blocks. But Walker also had elite passing and ball-handling skills as well, becoming a once-in-a-generation talent. 

The Times is polling current and former coaches to develop its list of nominees for Player of the Decade. The rest of the nominees will be announced before a tournament-style voting contest will be held to determine the boys basketball Player of the Decade. Readers will be able to vote online at santamariatimes.com; lompocrecord.com and syvnews.com. Players from Northern Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County whose final seasons where between 2009-10 and 2019-20 are eligible.

Player of the Decade Boys Basketball: Get to know the nominees before voting starts

It's almost time to vote in our boys basketball player of the decade poll, have you taken a moment to read about the nominees? Go through this collection of profiles and get ready for the voting.  We have been working to highlight the decade's best players in several different sports over the last few months, and now we continue with boys basketball. We've really enjoyed the level of participation we've had with the football and girls basketball polls, so share these profiles and the contest with your friends to get the word out and support our local athletes.  

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