Men's Basketball Player, Walter Tucker, Evergreen Athlete of the Week

November 12, 2003

by James J. Portune

OLYMPIA, WA -- Patience is a virtue, something junior forward Walter Tucker (Jackson, Miss./Wingfield H.S.) can tell you all about. Following a three-year absence from the college basketball floor, Tucker returned last week to lead The Evergreen State College Men's Basketball team to a 80-76 victory over cross-town rival Saint Martin's College.

For his double-double performance, 20 points and 10 rebounds, Tucker was named Evergreen Athlete of the Week.

In a team high 35-minutes of action, Tucker made 8 of his 15 field goals, another team high, and was perfect from the free throw line, making 4 of 4.

"I was nervous when I first stepped on the floor," Tucker said. "But once the game got going, it felt really good being able to play."

A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Tucker is five years removed from Winfield High School, were he graduated in 1999 with a 3.3 grade point average. At Winfield, Tucker was a three-sport letterman, excelling in cross country, basketball and track.

The road to Evergreen for Tucker travels through Patten College in Oakland, California. At the time, Evergreen's Athletic Director Dave Weber was the Men's Basketball Coach at Patten. Through an acquaintance, the coaching staff heard about Tucker basketball exploits and were not disappointed when they made a school visit. As a forward at Patten College, Tucker averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds per game for coach Weber.

At the end of his sophomore year, Patten cut the men's basketball program and Tucker was left without a place to play. Looking out for his players, coach Weber contacted Evergreen's Men's Basketball coach John Barbee and told him about Tucker. For Tucker the timing was not right and he remained at Patten during 2000 season, the year Evergreen won the Cascade Conference championship and advanced to the NAIA National tournament. Last fall (2001), Tucker relocated to Olympia, Wash., and enrolled at Evergreen. Losing credits in the transfer process, Tucker redshirted last season to get back on track academically and also to learn coach Barbee's system.

"Walter is one of the best student-athletes that I have on the team," said coach Barbee. "He is always on time, he goes to class, and I can count of him to do what he says he is going to do."

Tucker's experience and maturity will be counted on by coach Barbee.

"Walt is a tough match-up for an opposing team," Barbee stated. "He's too big for a guard to defend him and too quick for a forward to stop him. If Walt is consistent night in and night out, he will be successful and so will the team."

At Evergreen, Tucker focus is Education. After graduation he is interesting in pursuing a career as a school counselor.