Happy Easter, everyone…
On Sunday morning, former UConn forward Samarie Walker was the dais with four Kentucky teammates talking about how she has grown as a person and as a player since tranfering to the Wildcats in January 2011.
As fate would have it, Walker has had to play her former team twice since she left and both have been in Elite Eight settings – last year in Rhode Island and now Monday in Bridgeport.
Walker says she is doing fine, both personally and collegiately. She is sporting an interesting new haircut these days, one that ascends into a peak at its center. It reminds many of the veteran UConn writers to some of the haistyles Charde Houston sported with the Huskies.
Walker said she has not spoken to a single member of the UConn coaching staff since she left, which is not surprising considering the tension that had developed by the time she took off.
In fact, she said she hasn’t really kept in touch with many of her former UConn teammates, with the possible exception of Bria Hartley, with whom she came to UConn in 2010 along with Stefanie Dolson, Michala Johnson and Lauren Engeln. Dolson and Hartley are the only two members of the class still on campus.
Walker said she’s more comfortable at Kentucky and mentioned how many people “have her back” in Lexington, as opposed, we can only assume, at UConn.
“I’m happier here,’’ Walker said. “I’ve grown up a lot. I was 18 then. I’m 20 now. A lot of stuff happened between then and now. I have teammates who look out for me, who encourage me to do my best. Coaches who look out for me. Other staff members. It’s just a great atmosphere here and I’m happy to be here.’’
Still, Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell says in all the time he has known Walker that she never has hinted about having a bad experience in Storrs.
“I think Samarie wanted to get closer to home was the overriding factor,’’ Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell said. “She has never to me in all the time that we’ve spent together, and we’ve been really close a while now, and I just think at some point in time if she’d had just an uber-negative experience at Connecticut that that would’ve come out. She has just never said one bad thing about that experience other than the fact that she made a bad decision as far as going away from home.’’