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Profiling: Darrell Walker

9/13/2017, noon | Updated on 9/13/2017, noon
How One Former Chicago Bulls Champ is Combining Art and Athletics to Help Students Succeed
CAU Basketball and Men’s Head Basketball Coach Darrell Walker Photo Courtesy: CAU / Curtis McDowell

Former Chicago Bulls Champ helps student-athletes graduate on time by combining art and athletics

Clark Atlanta University’s Men’s Basketball coach Darrell Walker recent

hosted the 2nd Annual Darrell Walker Art and Basketball Auction on

Tuesday, September 12th. The event raises funds to offset the cost

of summer school for student-athletes.

“Coach Walker raises money for us to graduate on time, so I repay

him by working hard in my classes,” says point guard A.J. Williams. “I took two hard economic classes this summer, and it was paid for with a scholarship from the art auction. It would have been really tough if I had

to pay for it myself.”

Williams, who was raised by his single mother, transferred into CAU from a junior college in Brooklyn, NY. “I faced a lot of adversities in Brooklyn. Either you are on the streets, or you play basketball. It was a tough place to grow up, but I knew I couldn’t let my mother down,” says the business management major. “Coach Walker is tough on me because we play the same position. But I relate to him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever played for,” adds the 22-year-old.

Walker, a former point guard with the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, and former head coach of the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards, recruited Williams in 2016. Coach Walker, in his first year with

the Panthers, won the 2017 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Men’s Basketball Tournament championship.

Along with his NBA success, Coach Walker has been an avid art collector since early in his NBA playing career. His collection includes more than 80 pieces. “I’m combining my two biggest passions to impact the lives of these young men,” says Coach Walker. “These aren’t just my players, they are my sons, and leveraging my status to launch their careers is the way I pay it forward.”

Williams, a senior, will graduate Spring 2018 thanks to Coach Walker’s

efforts. “Coach believed in me, he trusted me and I thank God for him everyday.”

The 2nd Annual Darrell Walker Art and Basketball Auction was held in the Beauchamp Carr Gallery at the Robert Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta.

According to its website, Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a comprehensive, private, urban, coeducational institution of higher education with a predominantly African-American heritage. It offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees as well as certificate

programs to students of diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Clark Atlanta was established in 1988 by the consolidation of Atlanta University (1865), the nation’s first graduate school for African Americans, and Clark College (1869), the nation’s first four-year liberal arts institution

to serve a predominantly African-American undergraduate student population.