FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Saturday, Dec. 15, is a big day on the University of Arkansas campus as students participate in fall commencement ceremonies at Barnhill Arena. Amidst the hoopla are 33 current and former student-athletes who are earning their degrees including former men’s basketball All-American Darrell Walker who is picking up his diploma 33 years after he enrolled at Arkansas.
Walker was a first-team All-Southwest Conference selection and second-team All-American in 1983 before getting selected in the first round of that year’s National Basketball Association draft by the New York Knicks with the No. 12 overall pick. In three years in Fayetteville, Walker averaged 14.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and ranks 18th on Arkansas’ all-time scoring list and 10th on the assist charts. He would go on to play 10 years in the NBA with New York, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Chicago and averaged 8.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. His 1984 Knicks team advanced to the second round of the playoffs, it was one of four playoff runs Walker’s teams made. Currently, Walker is an assistant coach with the New York Knicks.
Presenting Walker with his degree on Saturday will be his former coach at Arkansas, Eddie Sutton. Sutton was the Razorback head coach from 1975-85 and in 11 seasons went 260-75 (.776). Sutton’s teams won four SWC titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament nine times including the 1978 Final Four.
Of the 33 student-athletes who are earning their degrees, 15 are from football, five women’s track, three men’s track, two women’s tennis, two swimming and diving, and one each from men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, gymnastics, men’s tennis and volleyball.