Wherever Morris Goes, Walker Follows

Cal State San Bernardino guard Develle Walker said it is difficult to remember the last time he played for a team that wasn't coached by Reggie Morris.

Ever since Walker started his prep career at Manual Arts High, their careers have followed a similar path.

"Develle has been with me for seven years," Morris said. "So saying I've had him before as a player is an understatement. There ought to be a limit as to how long you can coach somebody. It seems like we've been together forever."

The pair met when Walker played for the Manual Arts junior varsity as a sophomore. Walker played for the Manual Arts varsity as a junior and senior before joining Morris when Morris became coach at Los Angeles City College the following season.

Walker played at L.A. City in the 1988-89 season, sat out the next season because of a shoulder injury and returned to average 19 points to earn all-state honors as a sophomore.

Walker was recruited by numerous NCAA Division I and II programs. But his decision became easier when he learned that Morris was in the running for the coaching position at San Bernardino.

"I wasn't really planning on coming here," Walker said. "But he spoke to me about the possibility of him getting a job here. When he was hired, I told him I'd come here."

The junior guard leads the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. in scoring with an average of 23.7 points, 18.6 overall, and in steals.

Walker said he wasn't happy with his play early in the season. But he has scored 20 or more points in 11 of his last 12 games.

Said Morris: "What happened is exactly what happened at L.A. City last year. At the beginning of conference play, the need for him to come on arose and he rose to the occasion. We lost our point guard, Anthony Thomas, to a knee injury and (guard) Marcus Nash to ineligibility at the beginning of conference season."

It is not as if Walker's development comes as a major surprise to Morris.

"He's always been the same kind of player since he's been with me," he said. "He's always been very competitive and he doesn't like to lose. So he worked a little harder after practice and tried to do the things that were necessary to improve his game."

Walker says he has always enjoyed playing for Morris and this season is no exception.

"As long as I've known him, he's always been straightforward with me," Walker said. "He's not the kind who's going to lie to you. He'll let you know that you have a chance to play as long as you're willing to work for it."

He said Morris has also helped to motivate him as a player.

"He gets a lot out of you as a player," Walker said. "You may think you've gone as hard as you can, but he's going to push you to go beyond that."

Morris also was willing to lend support when he learned earlier in the season that Walker and his girlfriend were expecting a child. His girlfriend, Rhonda, who went to school with Walker at Manual Arts, gave birth to a girl last week.

"He's been very supportive of us all along," Walker said. "Just like he's known me for a long time, he's known her for a long time."

Morris said the prospect of being a father wasn't easy for Walker to deal with at first.

"At one time, he thought he might have to drop out of school to support her," Morris said. "I really admire and respect him for trying to do the right thing. Once he got past that, I think he has felt better about the whole thing."

Walker can say the same thing about his first year with the San Bernardino basketball team. After an early adjustment period, Walker has reason to feel good about his first season as a Division II player.

College Division athletes from Azusa Pacific and Cal State Los Angeles made an impressive showing at the 33rd annual Sunkist Invitational indoor track meet last Saturday at the Sports Arena.

Heading the list was Nigerian Christie Opara of Cal State Los Angeles, who finished second in the women's 50-meter run in 6.21 seconds and second in the long jump with a leap of 21 feet.

In addition, Brian Bridgewater of Cal State L.A. placed fourth in the 500-yard run in 58.33 seconds and Margo Grant finished fifth in the women's 440-yard run in 57.5 seconds.

Azusa Pacific was led by Nigerian Davidson Ezinwa, who finished second in the men's 50 meters in 5.74 seconds. He is defending National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics champion in the 100 and 200 meters.

Wendy Simmons of Azusa Pacific placed seventh in the women's long jump at 19-2 1/2.

Christ College Irvine is top seeded for the NAIA District 3 women's basketball playoffs. The Eagles (23-4) received the top seeding Tuesday in a vote of district coaches. Christ College, Fresno Pacific and Point Loma Nazarene finished in a three-way tie in district play. The Eagles had a bye in first round of the five-team tournament and will face Cal Baptist tonight. Cal Baptist beat Biola, 94-64, in the first round Wednesday night.

Third-seeded Point Loma visits No. 2 Fresno Pacific in the other semifinal game tonight. The district final is Tuesday at an undetermined site.

Tom Henderson, men's track and cross-country coach at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo since 1982, has announced his resignation effective June 30.

Henderson's cross-country teams have finished among the top 10 teams in the NCAA Division II six years in a row and the track teams have placed in the top 10 seven of the past 10 years. His teams have also won four CCAA titles in each sport.

Santa Clara quarterback John St. Jacques, a senior from Riverside, has been named as winner of the Western Football Conference's 1991 Pat Malley Award. The award is based on leadership, scholarship and character.

St. Jacques passed for 2,973 yards last season and has a 3.57 grade-point average.

The Biola men's basketball team posted perhaps its most impressive victory of the season with an 86-67 win over NAIA power Wayland Baptist of Texas last week.

Wayland Baptist was ranked No. 7 and Biola No. 9 in the NAIA last week. Biola is 25-3 overall and 10-1 in District 3 play.

The Cal Poly Pomona women's basketball team clinched its 11th consecutive CCAA title with two victories last week.

The Broncos (20-5), ranked 16th in the NCAA Division II, are 11-0 in the CCAA.

Pomona, which wraps up its regular season against second-place Cal State Dominguez Hills today in Carson, will play host to the CCAA postseason tournament Feb. 27 and 28.

With two victories last week, Redlands has regained first place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball race at 8-2.

Cal Lutheran, which lost two games last week, has fallen into a tie for second with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 7-3.

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