Alumni Walker left legacy, jersey retired


Oscar Daniel

Tyrius Walker, a 2014 Grady alum, goes up for a layup while playing a game for Morehouse College. After graduating, Walker had a stint for the New York Knicks.

William Randall

Of the estimated 500,000 high school basketball players in America, only about 110 of those athletes make it to the NBA. One of those players is Grady Class of 2014 alum Tyrius Walker. On Dec. 4, Walker’s jersey was retired as he was inducted into the Knights Hall of Fame.

During his time at Midtown, then known as Grady, Walker led the Knights to the state playoffs his sophomore year under former head coach Douglas Slade. His junior and senior year under former head coach Brian Weeden, he led the team to two Sweet Sixteen appearances.

Slade coached Walker during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

“I was just blessed to have the opportunity to coach him,” Slade said. “He was a young man with great character, great work ethic; he had a great respect for people. He was a great player but an even better student.”

After his high school career, Walker dominated at Morehouse College. He led the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) in scoring, averaging 23.7 points per game. He was also named the SIAC Player of the Year.

After graduating from Morehouse in 2018, Walker went undrafted in that year’s NBA draft but was signed to the New York Knicks practice squad. In the summer league, Walker averaged 6.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game over three games. Walker played in one preseason game before moving to the G League affiliate.

After moving down to the G League where he played for the Rochester Knicks, Walker suffered a left foot fracture in 2019, ending his time in the NBA.

The jersey retirement ceremony took place at halftime during the Knights’ game against Washington.

“[The ceremony] meant a lot,” Walker said. “To have the people who have supported you since day one means a lot. If it wasn’t for them, I would have never believed in myself. There were a lot of times where I got down on myself, and they were there to pick me up.”

Weeden welcomed the opportunity to celebrate Walker’s legacy.

“It’s always cool to honor someone who meant a lot to our program,” Weeden said. “We don’t celebrate the history of this program enough. We want people to know that a kid down the street came to this school and went to the pros.”

Slade played a key role in Walker’s early years on the team.

“First thing I try to look for in an athlete is their character; you have to be a good person,” Slade said. “Don’t get me wrong, wins are good, but I tried to stress to all of them that it’s about what you do in life. He exemplified all of that.”

Weeden began coaching Walker his junior year. The adjustment to Weeden’s coaching style was not easy.

“At first I cut him,” Weeden said. “When I got the job, he wasn’t complying and following the rules, and he was lazy. I think that flipped a switch for him.”

Walker has grown to appreciate Weeden’s impact on his career. “That’s like a big brother,” Walker said. “He was the reason I even got the Morehouse scholarship. He would stand on my head, but he never left.”

Slade has also watched Walker grow.

“I can’t express the feeling [of seeing him play at such a level],” Slade said. “The joy I saw before my eyes, to see him growing up and see where he is now, to watch him play at Morehouse. No one else deserved it more.”

Walker recalls his favorite moment on the court while in high school.

“My freshman year, I scored the winning bucket in my first varsity game ever,” Walker said. “Just to see all the people that were happy for me, I knew I wanted to keep doing this.”