Kemba Is a 'Leader, Winner' - NBC Connecticut
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Kemba Is a 'Leader, Winner'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Today is the day that Kemba Walker lands his first job after college. Where he'll end up is anyone's guess, and not even Walker seems to know (and if he does, he's not saying so publicly).

    Walker worked out for five teams in recent weeks -- Charlotte, Detroit, Sacramento, Toronto and Utah (where he went up against the other best college player in the country last season, Jimmer Fredette), and when he spoke to the media Wednesday he was predictably "excited, nervous, ready" for the NBA Draft.

    There has been some concern among analysts, bloggers and the mock draft set that Walker isn't a true point guard. He's a scorer stuck inside a point guard's body. Jim Calhoun spoke to that last week, saying that in his new role -- whatever it is -- Walker will have to make good decisions and understand that his job is to get the ball to the guys making "30 million a year."

    Walker insisted yesterday that "I'm a true point guard. That's what I am." Although it sounds like Walker has heard the skeptics.  "Before, people wondered if I could score," he said. "Now people wonder if I can pass. So it's like, What do you want?"

    NBA teams seem to understand this. Walker's generally considered the second-best point guard in the draft after Duke's Kyrie Irving. As for what Kemba will bring to a team other than a ton of on-court ability: "Leadership, great character, a winning attitude … That's what I bring."

    Which is pretty much how ESPN's Justin Verrier summed it up.

    "He’s a leader. He’s tough. He’s got heart. He has the hoops version of je ne sais quoi: a certain something. And despite all the basketball skills stacked up on his draft résumé, you keep coming back to the same phrase when trying to answer why, exactly, he has been such a success: He's just a winner."
     

    Verrier qualifies: "But some of the biggest doubts surrounding Walker’s ability to succeed at the next level stem from those same qualities." Then he quotes ESPN's Chad Ford, who made this obvious but on-point observation after the Huskies national title win: “Walker proved once again that he's a winner.”

    And, ultimately, it comes down to that.