Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Kemba Walker serves title-winning dish
By Dana O'Neil
HOUSTON -- They gathered every weekend in Kemba Walker's apartment, chilling out in their captain's space to play video games, watch television, air grievances. Anything they wanted to do, anything they needed to say, they could do or say there.
At the end, Walker would serve his Connecticut teammates dinner, a home-cooked meal prepared by his own All-American hands.
And so to the litany of Kemba Walker's talents, we now can add chef. The player whose combination of will and skill hijacked college basketball's postseason apparently can mix up a mean batch of tacos and macaroni and cheese.
Jeremy Lamb got the UConn offense going in the second half.
It is not just in the kitchen, though, that Walker can concoct something delicious. He can cook up a mean basketball team, too.
Connecticut won its third national championship, beating Butler, 53-41, in a slugfest that offered few shining moments for the postgame video.
The Huskies won not because Walker stole the show. The junior had the offensive yips just like everyone else on the court, hitting just 5 of his 19 shots from the floor and none from the 3-point line.
No, UConn won because along with carving his own spot in basketball history, Walker empowered his team to carve their own identities. Ten players got into the boxscore for Connecticut and in a game where points and progress were charted on the Mendoza line all 10 were needed.
"Right now it feels pretty good," Jeremy Lamb said. "People said we were young. People said we were a one-man team. Kemba didn't have any help, no post players, anything like that. But as the season went on, we just kept working, kept working. We ended up being a pretty good overall team."