University of Florida’s Erving Walker wants you to underestimate him. He is 5-8, 170 pounds and looks more like a team manager than the starting point guard at a perennial power. But when the Christ the King alum is on the floor, he gets into the paint at will, drills shots from well-beyond the NBA line and forces turnovers with his persistent defensive pressure. Walker’s dexterity and determination have drawn rave reviews from announcers and have made him a fan favorite in Gainesville. Dime got a chance to catch up with the Brooklyn native this past weekend as Walker talked about last season, the incoming talent and being undersized in the SEC.
Dime: What were your impressions of this past season? You guys got knocked out in the tournament by BYU.
Erving Walker: I think it was a good learning experience for us. And for me personally, first time playing point guard in college. I mean, I did in high school, but it was an adjustment. I had my ups and downs, but I would say I was successful, and we got everybody returning so we ready to make a good run at it this year.
Dime: You got to play behind Nick Calathes your freshman year. This year, you were starting. Was it difficult for you to adjust to playing point?
EW: No, not really because that’s my natural position. I played that one year with Nick being so talented off the ball. It was an adjustment for college with my first time dealing with all different types of defenses. This year, I’m looking to be more consistent.
Dime: How has it been playing for Coach Donovan?
EW: Oh it’s great. He’s a great coach. He’s a point guard himself, so he lets us go. I can honestly say he’s one of the first coaches I’ve really learned from.
Dime: What do you expect from Kenny Boynton this year? He was a little inconsistent with him jumper last season.
EW: It’s fun playing with him. Me and Kenny became great friends. We’ve been in the gym this summer getting shots up, and I mean, we know he’s a good shooter – we’ve seen streaks of it. I think it was just an adjustment for him getting used to the college game, but I think he’ll be ready to go this year.
Dime: Mike Rosario‘s transferring in, and Bradley Beal (Rivals #6 in Class of 2011) is committed, so that could be a lot of guys in the backcourt your senior year. Is four guards too many?
EW: No, not the way Coach Donovan plays, up and down. We didn’t press the way we would like to because we didn’t have enough depth, but after this year, with all four of us next year, we should be able to rotate the four of us in and out.
Dime: Austin Rivers originally committed to Florida and then de-committed. Have you spoken to him at all?
EW: Nah, I mean I seen him on his visit when he came, but I haven’t contacted him or anything like that.
Dime: This year in the SEC, you got to play against Kentucky with John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe and Patrick Patterson. What were your impressions of them?
EW: They’re all great talents. Cousins, Wall, Bledsoe. They’re all great young talents. We lost two close games to them we could’ve won, but they’re all great players who deserve to be where they’re at.
Dime: How difficult is it being undersized and competing in the SEC? Or do you use it to your advantage?
EW: I mean, I use it to my advantage. I’ve pretty much been the smallest player on the court my whole life, so I don’t really know what it feels like to be tall or whatever, so I just try to think positive and use my quickness to my advantage.
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