UConn Athletic Communications
Jan. 27, 2017
When the best basketball players in the world get together for the annual one-game display of their dazzling talents, the UConn basketball program will once again be represented.
Kemba Walker, who led the Huskies to the 2011 NCAA National Championship, will make his first appearance in the NBA All-Star Game after the Charlotte Hornets point guard was named as a reserve for the Eastern Conference squad, announced Thursday.
Walker and his Eastern Conference teammates will meet the Western Conference All-Stars on Sunday, Feb. 19, in the 66th NBA All-Star Game at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, starting at 8:30 p.m. on TNT.
Walker (Bronx, N.Y.) is in his sixth season with the Hornets after they drafted him with the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The 6-1 point guard is leading the Hornets into playoff contention by averaging 23.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game this year, shooting 45.7 percent overall and 41.1 percent from three-point range. He is ranked fifth in player efficiency among Eastern Conference point guards. The All-Star Game reserves are selected by a vote of the head coaches in each conference.
It is the 18th time a former UConn player has been selected for the NBA All-Star Game, an honor divided among six different players. Ray Allen was selected 10 times while playing for three different franchises (Milwaukee, Seattle, Boston), Rip Hamilton (Detroit) had three All-Star Game selections, and Caron Butler (Washington) was selected twice. Cliff Robinson (Portland), Andre Drummond (Detroit), and Walker (Charlotte) each have been selected once.
Walker, 26, has scored 7,344 points in 409 games for the Hornets. He is the first Charlotte player to be selected for the All-Star Game since Gerald Wallace in 2010.
The Hornets drafted Walker after he had an All-American season as a junior at UConn in 2010-11, averaging 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals in leading the Huskies to a 32-9 record, including a perfect 11-0 in the postseason. Walker sparked the Huskies to five wins in five nights in Madison Square Garden to capture the 2011 Big East Championship and six straight victories over Bucknell, Cincinnati, San Diego State, Arizona, Kentucky and Butler to win the NCAA title.
Besides his selection as a consensus First Team All-American, Walker was named the Big East Championship Most Outstanding Player, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player, First Team All-Big East, received the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard, and had his UConn No. 15 jersey placed on the Huskies of Honor wall. He set UConn single-season records of 965 points, 316 field goals, 258 free throws, and 1,543 minutes played. His career total of 1,783 points scored still ranks ninth on UConn’s all-time scoring list.