At Copiague High School, Ieasia Walker was everything coach Carol Olsen wanted in a player. She scored, was a leader and helped the Eagles all the way to the New York State tournament.
Then suddenly she was gone, off to bigger and better things at the college level. Her basketball abilities took her to the Deep South, where is playing a considerable amount of minutes per game as a freshman for the University of South Carolina.
Her 2,000-plus career points and 1,000-plus rebounds are a distant memory. Now, she’s worried about scoring against some of the best defensive players in the SEC.
“It’s tough,” said Walker, who was Miss New York Basketball Long Island Player of the Year last season at Copiague. “Every night is a tough game. We play Tennessee and every player of the bench is as good as a starter. We play LSU, Ole Miss. There are no cake walks.”
Early in the season, she saw a few spot minutes off the bench, but as of late she is playing about 20 min a game. Her coming out game was against the University of North Carolina, where she had 12 points and five assists. She’s averaging about 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
“I said ‘Okay, I’m just as good as these girls’,” Walker said. “It doesn’t matter that I’m a freshman.”
She hasn’t had a chance to explore the south or do anything in her limited free time besides catch up on sleep, but she admits she has become “more independent.”
The SEC should watch out next year when Walker is starting. It’ll be like her Copiague days all over again.