PALATINE, Ill. – Freshman men's basketball player Kevin Walsh (/St. Viator) spent his first semester of college studying at the University of Illinois. Walsh described it as a fun experience, but something was missing – the game of basketball.
He returned home last December and enrolled at Harper College. After a semester of coursework, Walsh knew he wanted to continue his basketball career. A key part of the Hawks' success this year who has been on fire on the court lately, Walsh now owns the honor of the 12th Harper College Athlete of the Week for the 2013-14 school year.
Walsh injured his ankle a month before the season and was very limited in practice. In the Hawks' first two games of the year, both losses, Walsh scored a combined 10 points. Since that time, the 6-foot-3 guard/forward has been on unstoppable force on the offensive end.
Walsh has only scored less than 10 points in a game once (Nov. 14 vs. Moraine Valley) in the last eight games and is averaging 26.7 PPG over the last three contests, all wins amidst an incredible eight-game winning streak. He scored a season-high 30 points in a 79-72 win over a strong Olive-Harvey squad Dec. 3.
That range is apparent as Walsh has canned six 3-pointers in back-to-back games and 26 total over his last seven games. However, Walsh is not just a scorer and averages 5.8 RPG (rebounds per game) to go along with his 17.9 PPG.
In the win over Oakton on Tuesday night, the Raiders went on an 8-0 run in the second half to take a lead with 7:22 to play. Unfazed by the surge, Walsh grabbed an offensive rebound on the next possession and scored a put back basket to give the Hawks the lead back. The next time down the court, Walsh calmly knocked down a 3-pointer.
With the game tied at 62-62 in the closing minutes, he sank a 3-pointer from the corner with the shot clock winding down.
"He's a very intelligent basketball player," Amarino said of Walsh. "He knows the game so well and puts himself in the right position to make those plays."
Walsh, a business major who is also interested in sports management, is hoping to play at a four-year school in the future. Amarino believes he has the ability to at the Div. II level and maybe even a Div. I school.
For now Walsh is just enjoying the team's 8-3 start to the season.
"Winning is more fun than losing, so we have to keep the streak going."