Demetrius Walker has made the flight into the Albuquerque Sunport dozens of times.
On Sunday, it was a new feeling for the Grand Canyon University shooting guard.
“I was nervous,” said Walker, the former Lobo who will play in the Pit today at 7 p.m. “I was probably a little more anxious than anything. I really miss New Mexico more than I thought I would.”
Walker had an unceremonious parting of ways with the Lobos a season ago – an indefinite suspension followed by his dismissal for reasons neither he nor UNM will disclose. Despite the dismissal (which didn’t reach beyond a team matter), he stayed in school, earning degrees in Mass Media Communications and Sociology. That allowed him to transfer to GCU without having to sit out a season.
He now stars for former NBA standout Dan Majerle, the first year coach of the Antelopes. He is averaging 18.1 points and 5.0 rebounds a game.
“I wasn’t happy with not getting the opportunity I really wanted here last year,” said Walker, who began the 2012-13 season as a starter before his playing time diminish significantly by midseason. “But I loved my time as a Lobo. We won two Mountain West titles and I was a part of the teams that built what is going on now with all their success.”
The pride goes both ways.
“I’m happy not just because he’s playing so well, but because he stuck with it here and got his degree,” UNM coach Craig Neal said. “I’m still on good terms with D and I’m very proud of him.”
Walker played two seasons for UNM and redshirted a third after transferring from Arizona State.
“I hope fans remember that every time I stepped on that court, I left it all out there,” Walker said. “And (tonight), I’m going to do that again, just for another team.”