Walls Calls It Quits

Posted: February 04, 1987

Former Camden High star Kevin Walls has quit the University of Louisville basketball team again, and this time he says he won't be back.

"I told him he has to follow the same rules as everyone else on the team," Louisville coach Denny Crum said of Walls, a sophomore guard. "He chose not to do so and elected to quit the team. It was his decision. I said, 'I think you'll regret the decision.' "

A consensus high school All-America at Camden during his senior year, Walls led the nation in scoring with a 44.8-point average, including a school-record 81 in one game. He led Camden to a 31-0 record and the New Jersey state championship.

Walls followed two earlier Camden High standouts, Billy Thompson and Milt Wagner, to Louisville, but was redshirted as a freshman after having bone spurs scraped from his right knee in December 1984. He appeared in 27 games last season, including 17 of the last 18 as the Cardinals won the NCAA championship. Earlier in the year, however, he had quit the team for one week

because of a lack of playing time. He later was reinstated by Crum.

This season Walls started nine games before being relegated to the bench. He averaged 3.8 points per game and 1.6 assists. He shot 39 percent from the floor. He quit the team after refusing to enter Monday night's game against South Carolina in the closing minutes of Louisville's 90-62 victory.

Walls said he quit because of a lack of playing time and his role when he did play.

"I went through this last year and came back, but I'm not coming back now," Walls said. "I just didn't want to fight through it anymore."

Walls said he was particulary upset about being inserted into the South Carolina game so late. He had played less than one minute in the first half, and not at all in the second half. "I came from being a starter to getting 45 seconds and not even getting in the game before that at all," said. "So if I was really playing that bad, tell me something. But nobody told me anything."

Walls played in 16 of 21 games this season, starting nine. He averaged 3.8 points per game and 1.6 assists. He shot 39 percent from the field.

Walls said he is uncertain of his plans and does not know if he'll try to transfer to another school to play. If he moved to another NCAA school, he would have just one more season of eligibility remaining after sitting out the required one year.

"I really don't know what I'm going to do right now, except I'm not going to play here," he said.

QUITE A FOLLOWING

His professional career has consisted of only seven bouts, but South Philadelphia junior welterweight Vinnie Burgese already has picked up a rather substantial following.

Burgese, 20, will have four busloads of fans along for support tomorrow night for his eight-round fight with Rashid Ali (10-1-1, 3 KOs), of New York, at Resorts International Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. It is part of the undercard to the main event between junior welterweights Howard Stewart (13-2-2, 4 KOs), of Philadelphia, and Juan Ramon Santana (17-4-1, 11 KOs), of Camden.

Burgese (7-0, 6 KOs) seemingly has been fighting all his life. He was 89-6 in an amateur career dating back to when he was 13, and that doesn't include a number of unsanctioned scuffles around the neighborhood.

"I was in a lot of street fights," Burgese said. "There were all kinds of fights at my school (Southern High), and I was in all of them. Even if I wasn't in the fight at first, I'd see a guy losing and jump in."

BOMBS AWAY

The NCAA's adoption of the three-point basket last March didn't go over too well with Stephen F. Austin basketball coach Harry Miller.

"My reaction was that we've got a good game the way it is, but we keep trying to fix something that's not broken," Miller said.

Then Miller got a good look at Eric Rhodes and Scott Dimak, who have made the Lumberjacks one of the premier three-point shooting teams in the nation. Rhodes, a 6-3 guard nicknamed "The Bomber," leads the country in three- point percentage (60.6 percent, 43-for-71). Dimak connects at a 58.8 percent rate (30 of 51). As a team, SFA trails only Indiana in the number of three-pointers made.

How does Miller feel about three-point shots now?

"A guy's got a right to change his mind, doesn't he?" Miller said.

HELLO DOLLY

Dolly Conner has 20-400 vision and can't read without the use of a monocular, sort of a half-binocular that brings her sight close to 20-20.

But Conner, who is legally blind, didn't let her handicap stop her from scoring 1,604 points during her basketball career at Gloucester High School and winning an athletic grant-in-aid to Monmouth College in West Long Branch, N.J.

A 6-2 freshman forward who doesn't wear glasses, Conner said it is no big deal that she can't see the full length of the basketball court or read her opponent's number unless it is directly in front of her.

"People hear about a blind basketball player and they think I'm out there with a cane," Conner said. "A newspaper at home did one last article on me before I went to college and it was one of those 'she's legally blind, but she's still going to play' things. After four years of it, it gets out of hand.

"Sure, I play with a handicap, but that shouldn't take away from the fact that I play. If I had four fingers, would it make a difference?"

PROPER TREATMENT

After interrupting his drug treatment program to play in the AFC championship game and Super Bowl, Denver Broncos tight end Clarence Kay is back at a California drug rehabilitation center.

Kay is finishing his final two weeks of a six-week program for chemical dependency and should return to Denver next week, according to Broncos coach Dan Reeves.

"I don't know if he'll stay here or go back to Georgia or what," Reeves said. "It depends upon what he feels comfortable with. I doesn't make any difference - it's just important to follow up (with treatments)."

QUOTEBOOK

From former Cincinnati pitcher Brad "The Animal" Lesley, now playing in Japan, on his American-hero role in a Samurai movie titled "The Animal Goes To Japan":

"I killed 12 people and won the girl in the end."

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