Indiana basketball player Anthony Walker spoke to reporters following Indiana’s win versus Morehead State on Tuesday at Assembly Hall.
Anthony Walker spoke about his performance, guys stepping up, areas the team needs to work on, and more.
Below is the full video Q&A and transcript.
Q. Anthony, obviously led the team in scoring. I’m guessing coming into the night you may not have expected that to be the case. How do you keep yourself ready to contribute in a number of different ways?
ANTHONY WALKER: Yeah, that’s just a part of being on this team. We know everyone is capable of being the most scorer or the most rebounder, whatever the case may be in a given night. Not just me being ready but everyone coming off the bench and the starters that play most of the minutes. Just being ready, making sure that Coach Woody trusts me and always being ready for the moment.
Q. What’s your explanation for why the team came out a little bit flat?
ANTHONY WALKER: Could be a number of reasons. I really couldn’t tell you specifically, but it shouldn’t have happened. We know that, and we obviously grouped together and pulled together and pulled out with a win, but this is a good lesson for us. They’re a good team. They play hard. They’re well-coached. Just being able to come together when we did get punched in the face early in the game and finish the game is something that means a lot to us.
Q. We know you’re one of the most vocal guys in that locker room. What was your message to the team whether it be at halftime or throughout the game when you guys were losing?
ANTHONY WALKER: Just to pick it up, just to pick the energy up. They’re not a lesser team because of whether they’re D-I, D-II, mid-major, whatever the case may be. Anybody can beat anybody on any given night, especially in college basketball. Just getting our energy up, getting our main guys going, getting them more comfortable is something that I took pride in and something that I did.
Q. Down the stretch you matched Morehead State’s rebounding in the last seven, eight minutes or so and the team was much better on the boards. Does that illustrate the importance of that and how you took that personally yourself today?
ANTHONY WALKER: Yeah, that’s something that I feel like we need to be better at as a unit. We can’t just rely on Kel’el to grab all the rebounds. Just coming in the game and attacking the boards offensively and defensively is something that I take pride in and everyone else on the team takes pride in, and the balls just started bouncing my way tonight.
Q. It felt like as Morehead was kind of growing its lead throughout the first half and early in the second half, some of the mistakes you guys had would snowball a little bit. Why do you think that was happening, and what do you need to do to combat that?
ANTHONY WALKER: Right, I always say momentum is a powerful force and that’s the beautiful part about this sport is once things start going well, everything starts going well. I think the most important part of their run is the fact that we didn’t stray away from each other. We kind of stayed together, kept encouraging each other, kept playing Indiana basketball because mistakes is going to happen. Just being able to pull together in that moment and continue to play Indiana basketball, continue to trust Woody is something that we did, and we get to pull out the game.
Q. What do you guys need to do to have more energy from the start in the first half, not have those lulls to where you have a double digit deficit to come back from?
ANTHONY WALKER: That’s something we have to take pride in ourselves. We have to create our own energy, especially coming out the gate in the game, and this won’t be a problem all year, trust me. We will pick our energy up. This was definitely a lesson.
There is no lesser opponent in college basketball, so this is definitely a lesson, and we’ll be the boss of our own energy for the rest of the year. Trust me on that one.
Q. When we spoke earlier this year, you talked about having a variable role. You came off the bench tonight but you’re in that closing unit. For you personally, a game like this, what does it do for you going forward?
ANTHONY WALKER: It gives me the utmost confidence, just knowing that Woody trusts me down the stretch in specific games and just knowing that I always have to be ready, and that’s for anybody on the roster, whether that’s the starting five or the last man coming off the bench. Just being able to play well, all glory to my teammates, all glory to Coach for keeping me on the floor and just my effort and the work that I’ve put in.
Q. When you saw Xavier get hurt and you knew someone else had to step up, did you feel this was your time where you could get some of Xavier’s minutes and start producing?
ANTHONY WALKER: So I wouldn’t say it was my time specifically, but like as a team, seeing him go down, it brought us all together. We all have to chip in. I believe that in this team we’re the sum of our parts. We don’t work well if the last guy on the bench isn’t doing his job. Just us as a team and a unit being able to pull together, whether that’s I take his minutes tonight or Kaleb Banks takes his minutes the next night, somebody always has to stay ready, and we have to continue doing what the goal is and what he teaches us.
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