BY ADOLPHUS AMES, Eastern Shore Post
The Nandua Warriors boys varsity basketball team reached the state semifinals during the 2000-2001 season and lost, 70-47, to Council High School.
B.A. Walker, who played point guard for the Warriors during this time, used the loss as motivation to return to the final four the following year.
“Our team knew we had bigger goals,” said Walker. “Going into the next season, we wanted to reach the finals and win.”
In the 2001-2002 season, the Warriors reached the state semifinals and faced Council once again. This time, the Warriors defeated Council, 43-38, to advance to the finals, becoming the first basketball team from the Eastern Shore to reach the championship game.
In the finals, the Warriors defeated Altavista High School, 65-49, to win the state title. The following year, the Warriors repeated as state champions under the leadership of coach Buck Boggs, defeating Radford, 64-56.
Walker had a stellar performance that night, scoring 25 points and earning six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
Walker, son of Bobby and Shelia Walker, grew up in Savageville. He fell in love with basketball at an early age.
“My older brother, Tyree, played basketball,” said Walker. “Watching him play inspired me to follow in his footsteps.”
Walker started playing parks and recreation basketball at age 8. He put in a lot of time and dedication to improve his craft.
In high school, he earned first team All-district four times, regional player of the year twice, and state player of the year twice.
Achieving success on the basketball court does not come without challenges. It requires a lot of physical and mental discipline. “You have to treat basketball like it’s a lifestyle,” Walker said. “But I still love the sport. It brought me opportunities I might not have had without it.”
Through basketball, Walker gained a Division I scholarship to Virginia Commonwealth University.
At VCU, he was named second-team All-CAA twice and participated in the National Invitation Tournament.
During his senior year, he averaged 14.5 points, three rebounds, and four assists per game. One of his favorite moments from his collegiate career came in 2007. That year, VCU defeated Duke University in the first round of the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Following college, Walker played professionally in Europe for 13 seasons. He played in Iceland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Israel, and France. He won a championship in Iceland in 2008 and another championship in France in the 2018-19 basketball season.
The style of basketball in Europe differed slightly from the playing style in the United States.
“When I was coming up, the European style of basketball was more focused on fundamentals,” Walker said. “You relied on athleticism too, but it was definitely more focused on knowing the game. Today the style of play in Europe has shifted. It’s more similar to the American style.”
Walker retired from basketball during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he graduated from VCU with a sports management degree, he currently works as a full-time real estate agent in Chesterfield, Va.
Basketball still remains a part of his life.
“I occasionally train kids in basketball as a hobby,” Walker said. “I also attend VCU games and support them whenever they play.”