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NEW YORK -- Bronx native Kemba Walker went back to the old roots that eventually paved his way to the NBA after starring at UConn and leading the Huskies to a national title in his senior season.
The ninth overall pick in this year's draft played in a Dyckman Park League game on Saturday night, and was joined by Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings and fellow New Yorker Erving Walker of the University of Florida, who starred at Christ The King.
|Kemba Walker, a Bobcats draft pick, won't get a chance to play on an NBA court for some time.|
The Dyckman Park League in Washington Heights had to move its evening doubleheader to Kemba Walker's old AAU gym down the road from Yankee Stadium, where the New York Gauchos run their program.
"It was fun. It's always fun coming to Dyckman," said Kemba Walker, who scored 36 points for Man Up in their 109-106 overtime victory over Dominican Power.
"(But) the fact that they moved it to the Gauchos' (gym) was even better. This is where my AAU team played."
Walker, who has been working out and doing clinics in Connecticut, said that he decided to play Saturday night "because Brandon wanted to play. So I wanted to play with him."
He scored 14 points in the first half.
"It's intense. Everyone is trying to win, to go at each other. It's New York City basketball," he said.
"I just get hyped. It's exciting to play. There's nothing like this. Not college basketball. Not the NBA. It's different. You got guys running on the court, acting crazy. Nothing can describe it."
Jennings hit the first shot of the game, a 3-pointer, and then followed that with another 3. He would later score on a spectacular drive to the basket, during which he crossed over the defender and faked a behind-the-back and scored on a lay-up.
There were a few plays, however, that the pros will likely leave off their highlight reels.
Early in the first half, Jennings received an inbounds pass near the sideline but fumbled it and watched the defender pick it up for a quick score, drawing laughs from Walker and Jennings himself. Midway through the first half, Walker blew a dunk and giggled.
Erving Walker had 27, including five 3-pointers. He scored eight and hit two 3-pointers, including one that put his team up for good.
It's not rare to see the pros take all the shots in these type of games, but Erving Walker benefited from playing with two other points guards, who found him open several times.
"I just had to play with confidence. They were giving me the shots and I was getting to the lane. I just took what the defense gave me," he said.
Jennings, the guard the New York Knicks passed over in the 2009 draft, had participated Friday night in an East-West All-Star game held at the outdoor court in Washington Heights and decided to play another night.
"I've been playing everywhere else. When you come to places like this, you're earning people's respect, and then they want to see if you can hoop," said the Bucks star who scored 26 points.
"You got people here that probably can't even go to an NBA game. They get to watch you. They get to interact with you."
With no end in sight for the lockout, and both Walker and Jennings all but ruling out playing overseas next season, it could be the only way to see these two on the court for some time.