November 30, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

NASHVILLE, TENN. - Former John A. Logan College basketball standout Darien Walker scored 13 points Sunday to help lead Valparaiso University to a 70-55 win over Portland in the championship game of the "Challenge in Music City" tournament in Nashville.
 
Walker, who is averaging 13 points and four rebounds on the season, also collected 19 points Saturday when the Crusaders crushed Murray State, 93-58, and 19 points in a 66-46 win Friday over Drake.
 
For his efforts, the 6-foot-3 guard was named to the All-Tournament Team.
 
Walker played his high school ball at Chicago Simeon and his freshman year of college ball at Western Arizona before transferring to Logan last year.
 
Walker helped lead the Vols to a Great Rivers Athletic Conference co-championship and 20-win season. He was named All-GRAC and All-Region 24.
 
"Darien is a winner. He is a very hard-working kid. I'm not surprised by his early success at Valpo," said Logan head coach Kyle Smithpeters. "It's obvious that Valparaiso is a good fit for him."
 
Walker said he is comfortable in his new environment and excited that he has been able to contribute greatly to his team's 7-1 start.
 
"I feel like I have adopted well to the system here," Walker said. "There is more passing and cutting off screens than ever before. I like the style. I was hopeful that I could make an impact, which is why I worked hard over the summer to get ready for the season."
Walker said his time at Logan was good preparation for this year's Division I competition.
 
"Absolutely," he said. "Coach Smithpeters pushed me to be the best player I could be and the competition in practice was very good. I still stay in touch with those sophomores on the Logan team."
 
Walker said that one additional benefit of playing at Valpo in northwest Indiana is that it's close to home.
 
"We're only about an hour or less away from Chicago. That allows a lot of my family and friends to make it over to the games," he said.
Walker added that the Crusaders should contend for a Horizon Conference title this season.
"We were picked fourth, but I think we're showing people how good we can be," he said. "I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of he season."
 
Walker is majoring in communications.
 

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