Sports

Best Game Ever: Kemba Walker’s came during UConn’s improbable Big East tournament run

2011
Kemba Walker cuts the final string of the net after leading UConn to the 2011 NCAA tournament title.
(Patrick Raycraft / Hartford Courant)

Dan Woike asked NBA players to tell us about the best game in their basketball career. This week: Kemba Walker

March 11, 2011: UConn 76, Syracuse 71 (OT)

33 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, six steals

Charlotte guard Kemba Walker scored 60 points in November — the most in an NBA game this season — but it wasn’t Walker’s best game ever. He won an NCAA tournament title, leading Connecticut to an unlikely crown, but his best game ever didn’t come in that run either. No, Walker’s came during one of the most challenging weeks of his career — the 2011 Big East Conference tournament, when he led the Huskies to five wins in five days, an overtime victory over Syracuse in the semifinals standing out the most.

“I’ve had a lot of good games, but the best I’ve ever felt was probably … the Big East tournament. Shoot, it wasn’t even one game. It was the whole tournament really. That whole tournament I felt crazy. I can’t really explain the feeling. It just felt really good. In the championship, we beat Louisville. But I would say the best game was against Syracuse. It was an overtime game. The energy was insane. I don’t really think about that anymore but back then, it was insane. The Big East tournament, it’s the grind of it, the teams. It’s different than the NCAA tournament. It’s harder, in my opinion, just because you’ve played against those guys all season. Five games, five days. The conference was just crazy.”

dan.woike@latimes.com

Twitter: @DanWoikeSports