Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Defense leads to PT for D. Walker
By Matt Giles
It has been a confusing past several weeks for New Mexico's Demetrius Walker. After seeing double-digit minutes consistently during UNM's non-conference slate, Walker has barely touched the court since Mountain West play began. Most puzzling was his recent DNP-Coach's Decision during a win over Wyoming; as detailed by Andy Swanson of the Lobo Beat, Walker has struggled to find his way out of coach Steve Alford's doughouse by continuing to suffer from turnover woes and poor shot selection. Though his defense has typically drawn praise from Alford, if one cannot perform offensively while also giving away possessions, a benching might seem justified.
However, there is some light shed on how Walker found his way back onto the court, a feat evidenced by his 18 minutes played (and 12 points scored) against Nevada. Walker also snatched two steals, and after the game, Walker explained his surge in PT: "I've been playing really well in practice and I believe he trusted me."
It will be interesting how many minutes Walker will receive against the conference's hottest team, Air Force. If Walker manages to avoid taking contested shots, and play tight defense -- a requisite for defeating AFA, a team eager to catch opponents' napping and then either back door or fill open spaces in the halfcourt -- he could provide a boost for Alford's squad.