University of Conneticut star guard Kemba Walker didn't surprise anyone when he announced that he would forgo his senior year with the Huskies and enter into the 2011 NBA draft. He did, however, shock people when he admitted that just weeks ago — at age 20 — he finished reading a book for the first time ever.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Walker says he went through high school and college without reading an entire book cover to cover. What's even more surprising is the fact that Walker is actually graduating with a degree from UConn a year early.
Last spring Walker approached academic counselor Felicia Crump and asked her if there was a way he could earn his sociology degree before entering the draft the following year. Walker was required to double up his course load and take classes during the summer in order to graduate this spring.
For an independent-study course, Crump suggested that Walker read William C. Rhoden's Forty Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete, which turned out to be the first piece of literature he completed. "That's true," Walker told Sports Illustrated. "You can write that. It is the first book I've ever read."
Walker is slated to graduate next month. He plans to finish up his coursework in the next few weeks and take a few online classes. He will also need to complete an internship as well — which he will probably conduct with the team that drafts him — in order to officially graduate.
It's admirable that this young man wants to be able to call himself a graduate when he gets drafted, but there is something seriously wrong with a child who goes his whole life without completing a book. This young man received a full ride to one of the top academic schools in the country without finishing a book, yet somehow he managed to pass and earn a degree?
He clearly did not do this on his own. Walker's teachers and coaches — both in high school and college — had to have been well aware of any academic shortcomings, but all were ignored in order for these schools to have a winning team. Walker may be graduating with a degree, but he was clearly robbed of a true education. Yet another undereducated black man joins the league — way to go, NBA.
Read more at ESPN.
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