High school basketball fans will remember Walker D. Russell Sr. as one of Michigan's best-ever prep players for Pontiac Central during the late 1970s, noted TV analyst Greg Kelser, who at the time was launching his partnership with Magic Johnson at Michigan State. Pontiac Central was part of the Saginaw Valley League at the time, and so Walker Russell made regular forays up the I-75 corridor into Kelser's Flint, Bay City, Midland and my hometown, Saginaw.
Walker Russell Sr. had style, big-time style, but it turned out he didn't have a whole lot of drive. He had six one-year or partial-year stints with NBA teams during the 1980s, including four with the Pistons, one with Atlanta and one with Indiana. His career totals of 155 games, 18 minutes per game and three points are testimonies to his journeyman status. Now a portly 51 years old, he jokes that he "ate my way out of the NBA" due to a love of Snickers and other snacks.
Walker D. Russell Jr., at 6-foot, is five inches shorter than his father, and he's had to work harder to make it to the big show. He was undrafted in 2006, in spite of a solid career at Jacksonville State, and he has pushed like crazy in the NBA Development League ever since, playing for the Fort Wayne Fire Ants (who in the world came up with THAT nickname?). This season he was averaging 16 points and 10 assists, and in the Development League's Showcase (i.e. All-Star) Game he impressed scouts with 19 points and 19 dimes. And so the Pistons, with Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum temporarily out of action, called the number of Walker Russell Jr. as a fill-in. The guy played his first NBA game at age 29. He earned 20 minutes, took only two shots, and tallied three points on a bucket and a free throw. Obviously Walker Russell Jr. was deferring to teammates, but it was fun rooting for him.
The only flaw for Walker Jr. was three turnovers, and his teammates made 22 more, for a total of 25. C'mon, guys.
The Stones made a comeback from 23 points down to pull within six at the start of the fourth period, but then miscues caused them to fall apart again.
Talk about inconsistent! The Pistons scored 35 points in the third period, but only 46 in the other three quarters combined.
One thing we're starting to notice is that the bad teams seems more prone to bad calls or lack of calls from the refs. The Grizzlies manhandled the Stones in the first period, with some obvious fouls uncalled.
- Sports & Recreation
- Walker Russell
- Detroit Pistons
- Saginaw Valley League
- Memphis Grizzlies