Boys basketball

Westville's Walker a deadly 3-point shooter

2014-02-20T18:00:00Z 2014-02-21T01:40:08Z Westville's Walker a deadly 3-point shooterJim Peters james.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
February 20, 2014 6:00 pm  • 

A kid shooting baskets in the driveway with his dad is the stuff of Indiana high school hoops lore.

So it was with Westville coach Rob Walker and his three sons, Collin, Ben and Ryne.

"I was never a great shooter; I was more of a point guard," Rob said of his playing days at Hebron. "I taught all three of them the same method ... holding the follow-through, release point ... but all three, like their handwriting, are unique."

Admittedly "a little slow", Collin learned several years ago that perimeter shooting was going to be his route to hoops success. In addition to the time with his dad, he attended the Taylor University camp for several years, working with well-known instructor Jim Irwin on his mechanics. When the weather has kept Collin from getting to the gym this winter, he's made due, practicing in a balcony court built in a barn near his house.

"The big thing was just getting up a lot of shots in the summer," Rob said.

A senior with the Blackhawks, Collin is a 43 percent 3-point shooter (24 of 56) this season, an above average accuracy rate though he was aiming for 45 to 50. He's an ideal balance for the quick guards in Westville's drive-and-kick offense.

"If defenses collapse on them, it leaves me open," said Collin, who's most comfortable in the corner. "If they stay on me, then they can take their guy. We've got a lot of other people to worry about."

Collin played his freshman ball at LaPorte, where the family lives. Preferring the small-school environment of Westville, where Rob was already teaching, he transferred after the second trimester. Ben, a sophomore, still plays for the Slicers.

"You can really work with the teachers here," Collin said. "The big school feels like a factory."

In 2011, Rob became Westville's coach, uniting father and son on the court.

"It's worked out nice," Rob said. "There are definitely challenges to coaching your son, but there are a lot of benefits, too. I get on him maybe a little more, but he's responded well. We try not to bring up basketball at home, but with three sons who plays, we're surrounded by it. You can't get away from it."

Fortunately, Collin hasn't encountered any of the issues he's heard about, where family relationships are strained by the pressure. Rob is listed as Coach Walker in Collin's phone and Collin refers to him as "Mr. Walker" at school.

"I've never noticed any difference," Collin said. "I've never had people telling me ... I was playing because of my dad. We've got really good team chemistry. We always hang out outside of basketball. We're all like a group. It's been really fun. "

Rob appreciates how Collin has accepted being a complementary player on the team.

"You can't have 12 superstars," Rob said. "You need role guys, guys who set screens, who hit open shots. I've always drilled into (my sons) the importance of doing the intangible things, getting a rebounding, making the extra pass. Collin's 6-1 and a lot of times, he's guarding the other team's (center)."

Collin, who averages 10.8 points and five rebounds per game, hopes those qualities can help him realize his dream of playing college hoops.

For now, he's appreciating his last weeks in the orange and black.

"Guys tell me how loud it is here when the gym's packed," Collin said. "That's probably my favorite thing. It's so special to play here. Senior night's going to be really sad."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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