GCCC's Walker signs with Livingstone College
Jun 22, 2012 (The Garden City Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
For two years, Ashley Walker's family had to watch her play basketball via online video streams. Later this year, they'll be able to see her in person.
Walker, who completed her sophomore season on the Garden City Community College women's basketball in March, recently signed an NCAA letter-of-intent to play at Division II Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C.
"When I went on my visit, it just felt like home," Walker said. "I really enjoyed the coaches, how the community looked, the people, the teachers, just everything. It was nice."
A Washington, D.C., native, Walker said it will be nice to have her mom watch her play in person for a change.
"It will be great," she said. "My mom can see me play again, and just getting closer to home."
Walker is getting a full scholarship to play for the Blue Bears, something GCCC coach Alaura Sharp is thrilled about.
"I'm really proud. I'm happy for her," Sharp said. "Her recruiting process went on for quite a while. She had some really good offers and some really good options. I think she's really excited about the program that she chose, and I know they're really excited about her, as well."
The 5-foot-10 wing averaged 11 points as a sophomore, but got hot toward the end of the season, averaging 18.2 points in a six-game stretch in February. Walker had a season-high 26 points in the Broncbusters' Region VI tournament semifinal loss to Independence.
A two-time All-Jayhawk West honorable mention selection, Walker also was looking at Glenville State (W.V.) and Bowie State (Md.), among other schools.
Sharp said she believes Walker's best basketball is yet to come. And while Walker noted it's not Division I, she was just happy to have a chance to continue her education and basketball career, something Sharp lauded.
"We don't' get wrapped up in level -- Division I, Division II, NAIA. That's what Ashley did a good job of, she didn't get wrapped up in level of play," Sharp said. "She found herself a good, solid program to get into. The most important thing, she'll continue her education. She graduated from Garden City, and she'll be able to move on and earn her bachelor's degree."
Walker said she's planning on studying sports management and is considering minoring in business. She heads to her new school on Aug. 10 and said the opportunity is exciting. "Just getting a full scholarship, making my mom proud," Walker said. "I'm going to continue to do that and continue to do what I love -- play basketball."
Jones in all-star game
The Busters' leading scorer last season is headed to the NJCAA Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Weekend in July.
Tamara Jones, the 2012 Jayhawk West freshman of the year, was one of 40 players nationally to be selected to participate in the event, from July 13 through 15 at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Fla.
Sharp was pumped about the news; Jones, not as much.
"Of course, I was excited, because it looks really good for our program and it's great for her recruiting -- but I had to talk her into it a little bit, because she's kind of a comfort type of person," Sharp said.
Sounds like a surprising reaction, right?
"No, not if you know her," Sharp said. "She's just kind of like that."
Coaches nominated players, who were then assessed by a selection committee for inclusion in the event. Players will participate in workouts, as well as be divided into four 10-man teams and play in four games.
Jones was a first-team All-Jayhawk West and All-Region VI performer and averaged 16 points and 8.6 rebounds. The Prosser, Wash., native had three 30-point games and at least 24 points in a game six times.
Jones is the first Lady Buster to compete in an NJCAA all-star game. She will be flying out there alone, as Sharp had a prior commitment when the selection was announced.
And aside from the recognition it could bring the program, it's a major chance for the 6-foot forward to make an impression on the NCAA coaches who will be in attendance.
"I've talked to several coaches on the phone, and it's the big thing in the summer that they all go to," Sharp said. "It's really the only junior college event -- there's a few other all-star games -- but it's really the only way to get recruited as a junior college player in the summertime. It's where they go to find their big-time sophomores to recruit early."
But any pressure that might accompany such an event will be lost on Jones.
"No, she doesn't know any different. She'll just go down there and play basketball," Sharp said. "I've just been calling her to make sure she's in shape, so she has a good performance."
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