COMBO GUARD OUT OF WICHITA SAYS "YES" TO CARDS
The wait is over for seeing where 5'8" rising senior combo guard Zyanna Walker will continue her student-athlete career in 2022. She announced yesterday that she was UofL Cardinals bound -- stating that she was "110% committed" to UofL and the Cardinals coaching staff.
"They've been recruiting me for a few years now and I've been able to get to know the coaches. I took a visit there and loved it. The coaches were very honest with me in what they saw in me and I really trusted them at the end of the day. It took a lot of time talking to all of the coaches recruiting me, so it feel good to be done."
Another Kansas standout joins the Cards. Payton Verhulst, a standout at Kansas City's Bishop Miege High School, will suit it up for the 2021-22 season for the Red and Black.
It hasn't been an easy road for Walker. She tore her ACL shortly before her junior season and then discovered she had also torn her meniscus. The injury took away the chance for her to play her junior season at Wichita Heights High School. A year of rehabilitation followed. She's confident that she'll be able to play for her club team (Kansas United), though, when they visit Atlanta and Alabama for tournaments.
"I'm excited to get back out there and see how my knee feels. It's been really tough and there's been people doubting me, but I know what I bring with my game and how hard I work. I know I'm going to come back even better. I just love basketball, and it comes from the heart. That's why I have a natural work ethic."
Those words will, no doubt, hearten Cardinals associate strength and conditioning coach Beth Burns and the rest of the staff at UofL.
Schools first started following Walker as an eight grader in middle school.
The word on Walker is that she's got the skills to do a lot. She handles the ball exceptionally well and her shooting is spot on. Her footwork is solid and she moves well side-to-side. She can be tricky on the court, and that has impressed her high school head coach Ken Palmer.
"When she first started coming for workouts as a freshman, I'm trying to teach her new ways to score the ball and everything I was showing her, she just did so easy. It was like...is anything hard for you?"
Zyanna is, of course, headed to a school where guard play has thrilled Cardinal fans for the entire Jeff Walz proclivity at UofL. Beginning with Angel McCoughtry, Becky Burke, Dez Byrd and progressing with such standouts as Shoni and Jude Schimmel, Tia Gibbs, Bria Smith, Asia Durr, Arica Carter, Jazmine Jones, Dana Evans, Kianna Smith, Kasa Robinson and Hailey Van Lith -- Cardinals guards have been a constant worry for foes in, first, the Big East, and in the ACC -- plus on the national stage.
Before she arrives at UofL, though, a senior season of high school. Zyanna is direct and focused on what she wants to accomplish -- a state championship.
She wears #23 in high school. That's a number that, no doubt, remains in a lot of Cardinals faithful memories -- being the collegiate number of Jazmine Jones.
Zyanna, Kianna and Ahlana...I know -- it sounds like a 60's pop group. It also sounds like the best and the brightest of the collegiate nation's guard contingent are buying in to what is being taught and practiced at Louisville. That hard work and dedication will reap rewards. The Cards are the best in the ACC over the last several years and that shows no signs of changing.
We'll be watching, here at CARDINAL COUPLE, and hoping for the best for her.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
(parts of today's article were researched from an article in kansas.com)