Greenville’s Walker stuck in holding pattern

GREENVILLE – Noah Walker, a 2019 Greenville Senior High School graduate enters his sophomore season playing for the Heidelberg University Student Princes men’s basketball program.

Walker, the son of Chet and Shellie Walker was a member of the GHS National Honors Society and the National Technical Honors Society.

The 6’2” Walker was named All-Conference honorable mention as a junior and second team All-Conference as a senior, earned All-Southwest District honorable mention, All-Conference academic selection and was the recipient of the Coaches Award and Team MVP Award while serving as team captain his senior season.

Walker holds the Greenville Senior High School boys record for most three pointers made in season (73) and in a game (8).

As with all sporting programs, COVID-19 has shaken the landscape of collegiate athletics.

“It is definitely disappointing but it is also a unique opportunity,” Walker said of the upcoming college basketball season. “It is just more time and more time is more opportunity. It gives us time to get better individually and as a team.”

The Ohio Athletic Conference – which includes Heidelberg University – has joined a growing wave of conferences across the country who have postponed all fall NCAA athletic competition amid the continued and expanding concern over the spread of COVID-19.

“As of right now we are pushed back to January 1 for competition,” Walker stated. “We are allowed to practice 144 days up until then so we get to use those days however we want so we can condition, practice and lift, just anything we need to do.”

“It will be especially disappointing if we do practice up until December and then come December they’re saying we can’t have a season,” added Walker. “For me it wouldn’t feel like a waste of time but it would feel like we could have been putting our effort elsewhere.”

Walker works two jobs while home for the summer; Turtle Creek Golf Course and the Greenville Girls Softball Association as well working on his basketball skills on outside courts around town.

“I haven’t been wasting my time,” Walker noted. “I’ve been working out when I can. With two jobs and working out I have something to do every day from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.”

“I have been running in the mornings with Isaiah (Gable) and Coach Joseph,” continued Walker. “I have been getting up early to go out to K8 (Middle School playground) or North Park and do a basketball workout there.”

Communication comes from a distance with the Heidelberg coaching staff and players noted Walker.

“We have two different group chats, one with our head coach and one with one of our assistants,” he said. “We try to send pictures of us working out everyday just to keep in touch that way and then our head coach sends us a thought of the week every week. We try to get on a zoom meeting a couple times a month as a team and just talk about what is going on in the world, how our workouts are going – we talk in some form about every day.”

“We haven’t been able to have an open gym yet,” Walker said. “We may be able to start here in August. It’s kind of up in the air just with that many people being there.”

With the Coronavirus still in play, Walker is weighing his future college basketball career options if the 2020-21 basketball season does not play out.

“I am in a unique situation whether to come back for a junior season of basketball because I would have three years of eligibility left for what would only be a year and a half of school,” Walker said. “If I had to make a decision right this second I would not be coming back. I would just get school over with, save myself some money in the future and just start my adult life a little earlier than I expected.”

“The situation I am in, I would be able to complete my bachelors early and then my masters would be my following year because if you complete your undergrad you get your MBA for free,” added Walker. “I would be utilizing that and I would hopefully start that in the spring semester of 2022 and complete it in the fall semester so I would be graduating a year and a half early.”

Walker is optimistic about his future with or without basketball.

“I don’t like to look at the downside of things,” Walker concluded. “After situations like this when people respond to adversity is usually when the strongest comes out of people.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Noah Walker grabs a 5:30 a.m. breakfast at his mother’s Double M Diner before reporting to work at one of his two summer jobs in Greenville. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

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