Kemba Walker poses for pictures in front of a large white screen in a little room at the Seigle Point Community Center Friday. He twists, turns, dribbles, flexes, flicks the ball and tries to comply when he's asked to look gangster. But he's menacing only on the court. Walker is 6-1, weighs 172 pounds and was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats Thursday with the ninth pick in the NBA draft. At Connecticut, Walker was magic. He led the Huskies, an among-other-teams-receiving-votes group most of the season, to the Big East championship and the NCAA championship. He was the best player on college basketball's best team, and whatever the Huskies required - points, passes, poise or a push - he gave. Will the qualities that distinguished him last season distinguish him in the NBA? All Friday afternoon, strangers looked at him as if to say, "You don't look special. You look like one of us. But, hey, can we have your autograph?" Walker left his Manhattan hotel at 5 a.m. Friday and caught a 6:22 a.m. flight to Charlotte. He might have slept Thursday night, but he doesn't think he did. He conked out on the airplane and again for about 45 minutes after he checked into his Charlotte hotel. At 10 a.m. Walker and Bismack Biyombo, whom the Bobcats took with the seventh pick, were ushered to the office of team owner Michael Jordan. Jordan was joined by general manager Rich Cho and head coach Paul Silas. At noon, Walker, 21, and Biyombo, 18, were introduced at a gathering of Bobcats' employees. From there they headed downstairs to the players' lounge. They signed 100 basketballs scattered across three tables and 50 caps lined up on another. When Walker left the room, he saw a chart on a wall that tracks players' strength and conditioning work, and briefly paused to look. The first name on the chart: point guard D.J. Augustin. "I'm going to push D.J.," Walker would say an hour later at a news conference. He would add: "I'm going to do whatever is possible to get on the floor." The rookies walked out of Time Warner Cable Arena onto a red double-decker Charlotte Party Charters bus. Fred Whitfield, the team's president, served as tour guide as the bus rolled toward Bank of America Plaza. Fans had been alerted via Twitter that the players were coming. About 200 waited. A seven-piece band got off the bus first. The trombone player had been asked to play while he was still seated. But a thing most of us have probably never considered is that trombones don't lend themselves to narrow buses.
Draftees get first taste of Charlotte
Charlotte Observer | Jun 25