Classy Casey a cut above the rest
BASKETBALL: He's been coached by a former NBA player and has already won a championship on Australian soil, but Gladstone Port City Power import Casey Walker wants more in the QBL.
Walker was drafted into the Power squad by coach Brady Walmsley before the start of this QBL season.
The shooting guard, who can penetrate inside the paint and also nail shots from beyond the arc, is beginning to get used to the QBL's style after previously playing in Victoria.
The 25-year-old played for the Geelong-based Corio Bay Stingrays, who won the Big V League in 2015, when he averaged 19 points a game.
Walker's love of basketball came at an early age in his native state of Virginia, US.
"I started playing basketball at a young age, about five. We had a little basketball league, so I grew up playing that," he said.
"I went and played middle school basketball, then I got to high school and it really sprouted for me."
Much of Walker's growth came under the watch of former Denver, Boston and Cleveland shooting guard Bryant Stith.
"I was blessed to have an NBA (player) for a head coach, Bryant Stith, he played 10 years in the NBA (1992-2002)," Walker said.
"He's from my high school (Brunswick High School, Virginia) and he came back home so I started working out with him. He showed me a lot and then I earned a scholarship to play at Delaware State.
"I went there for four years and ended up getting an opportunity to play in Geelong which started off my pro career in Australia."
Walker sees similarities with Gladstone and Geelong.
"In Geelong the area is similar to Gladstone, it wasn't a big area and it was a nice community," he said.
"Basketball-wise, I came to a great team (Corio Bay) and won the championship in my first year.
"My second year I went to McKinnon (Cougars) on the east coast of Melbourne and that was awesome."
The 196cm swingman has most recently played in China.
"I wanted to come back to Australia again and this opportunity presented itself," he said.
"I'd known (Power coach) Brady (Walmsley) for a while and was trying to get out here and he was going to help me.
"One day Brady messaged me and asked if I was interested in coming out to Australia and I said yes and he got me out here."
Walker has nothing but praise for coach Walmsley.
"Brady is a great coach. I like the style we play," he said.
"He gives everybody the freedom to do what they want to do."
Walker's form so far this season has been mixed. He is averaging 17 ppg and four rebounds.
His top score was 30 points in the one-point loss to Sunshine Coast Phoenix on May 6.
He played 18 minutes against Toowoomba last Saturday and scored 10 points.
"In the first game I was in foul trouble, you got to get used to it, the intensity is different in the States," Walker said.
"You can do a lot more hands-on and contact stuff."
Despite the Power going 0-3 to start the season, Walker wants to win more championships after an unlucky run during high school.
"In high school I lost three state championships - we made it three years in a row and lost.
"My goal here is to win a championship so, hopefully, we can bring the first (QBL) championship for the men here in Gladstone."
The Power men and women are at home this Saturday to Mackay Meteors.