by John Ring

There's a new transfer student in town for the Silver Streaks basketball team.

His name isn't Thompson or Woodward or Loomis or even Ben Johnson. It's not even Bumpy.

But Ryan Walker, who arrived in town months ago from Charlotte, N. C., is anxious for the season to get started.

A lot of Silver Streak fans are wondering about Ryan Walker. The kind of basketball player he is and how much his game will boost the Streaks.

While few have seen him on the court, future teammate Jordan Watson -- who has played with him in open gyms -- is high on Ryan Walker.

''Ryan's a good player,'' said Watson. ''I'm glad he's on our team and he's going to do some good things for us.''

Coach Geoff Falk said two weeks ago on a local sports radio show that Walker was a lot like Watson.

Both Watson and Walker are 6'3'' tall. They have about the same build. Watson's just one year older. Even their teams last year were pretty similar.

''We didn't have any size,'' said Walker of his N.C. high school team, ''so we had to run a lot. There wasn't really another player on the team that could score and I needed some support.''

Watson was in much of the same situation last year. Teams would routinely key on him to try and shut him down.

But Ryan Walker comes from a solid basketball background. His father was a Division I player at Wake Forest. Ryan grew up in the Tar Heel state, one that takes basketball almost as seriously as Illinois does.

''I play a lot like my Dad,'' said Walker. ''I like to push the ball. I like to shoot. I use my body real well inside.''

Walker was a two-year starter for his high school in Charlotte. As a freshman, he was the point guard for his team. Last year, he was moved to the two-guard.

''My high school in North Carolina was a lot smaller than this one. It had an enrollment of about 550. The conference we were in was made up of all Charlotte schools so it was an independent conference.''

Walker's a good shooter that has a court savvy as well -- again, much like Jordan Watson. His adjustment to the move northeast has been a smooth one.

''It's been real good here,'' said Ryan of Galesburg. ''Charlotte was a lot bigger than here obviously but there's just one school in this town and everything will be focused on us and that's great.''

Asked if he knew how big basketball was in Galesburg, Walker grinned.

''I came to a game here last year and it was against Š let's see, Alleman, I think it was. Anyway, we didn't have anything in Charlotte like it is here, especially with the radio coverage and the newspapers.''

Asked if he were a Tar Heel fan or a Dukie, Walker laughed. ''I'm more a Wake Forest fan or even a North Carolina State fan. I don't think rooting for those other teams would be allowed in my house.''

Ryan Walker arrives at a crucial time for the Streaks. Coach Falk returns just two starters from an 11-15 team last year. And while the freshman team last year played very well, the sophomores were very bad, winning just one game -- and that because of an ineligible player used.

''I really can't wait for the practices to start, for the season to begin,'' said the newest Silver Streak. ''Things will really get back to normal then.''

As it will for Galesburg.

Welcome to Silver Streak basketball, Ryan.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online November 4, 2000

Back to The Zephyr