Thomas Walkup

Last updated

Thomas Walkup
2022-03-10 ALBA Berlin gegen Olympiacos Piraeus (EuroLeague 2021-22) by Sandro Halank-028.jpg
Walkup with Olympiacos in 2022
No. 0Olympiacos
Position Point guard
League Greek Basket League
EuroLeague
Personal information
Born (1992-12-30) December 30, 1992 (age 31)
Pasadena, Texas, U.S.
NationalityAmerican / Greek
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight203 lb (92 kg)
Career information
High school Deer Park (Deer Park, Texas)
College Stephen F. Austin (2012–2016)
NBA draft 2016: undrafted
Playing career2016–present
Career history
2016–2017 Windy City Bulls
2017–2018 Riesen Ludwigsburg
2018–2021 Žalgiris Kaunas
2021–present Olympiacos
Career highlights and awards
Stats   OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg at Basketball-Reference.com

Thomas Ryan Walkup (born December 30, 1992) is an American-Greek professional basketball player. He is a naturalized Greek player for Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League (GBL), the EuroLeague, and for the Greek national team. He played college basketball for Stephen F. Austin State University, before being named Southland Conference Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons (2015 and 2016). Walkup is a native of Texas.

Contents

High school career

Born in Pasadena, Texas, [1] Walkup attended Deer Park High School in nearby Deer Park. He was a point guard in his junior season for the varsity basketball team and averaged 10.1 points, 5.0 blocks, 4.6 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. [2] Walkup also earned all-district honors after helping the Deer finish the season with a 24–11 record. He also lifted them to a bi-district round victory at the Class 5A playoffs. As a senior, Walkup averaged 25.9 points and 8.9 rebounds with Deer Park. [2] In his years with the school, he faced two ACL injuries and a broken foot. [3] [4]

In November 2010, Walkup committed to play college basketball at Stephen F. Austin State University for the Lumberjacks. He chose the school because he aspired to compete in the NCAA Division I tournament and they ran a successful program. [4] Houston Baptist was the only other school that offered him a scholarship. [5] Walkup later said, "There was a reason I didn’t have any other scholarship offers besides those two—I wasn't any good." [5] His father commented on Walkup's recruitment, "I'm sure scouts looked at him and said, 'Well, he's a 6–4 white guy and he can't shoot and he plays the four. And we don't need that.'" [6]

College career

Walkup immediately assumed a big role with the Lumberjacks as the team's sixth man during his freshman season. In 18.5 minutes per game, he averaged 4.4 points and 3.6 rebounds. He recorded a season-best 11 points twice, against Tulsa on November 24, 2012, and versus McNeese State on January 5, 2013. That season, the Lumberjacks won a school-record 27 games, winning their third Southland Conference title of all-time and qualifying for the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). [2]

As a junior at Stephen F. Austin, Walkup averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. His teammates began referring to him as "The Snake", after establishing his ability for rebounds, consistently drawing fouls for opposing players, and providing scrappy defense for the Lumberjacks. He was named Southland Conference Player of the Year in 2015. [7]

In the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, Walkup scored 33 points in a 70–56 upset over third-seeded West Virginia. [8] He shot 19-for-20 on free throws.

Professional career

After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, Walkup joined the Golden State Warriors for the 2016 NBA Summer League. On September 26, 2016, he signed with the Chicago Bulls. [9] However, he was later waived by the Bulls on October 21 after appearing in four preseason games. [10] On October 30, he was acquired by the Windy City Bulls of the NBA Development League as an affiliate player of Chicago. [11]

On August 10, 2017, Walkup signed with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg of the German Basketball Bundesliga for the 2017–18 season. [12] In April 2018, he was named to the All-German BBL First Team. [13] On June 21, 2018, Walkup signed with Žalgiris Kaunas of the Lithuanian Basketball League. [14] Walkup received the LKL Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019. [15] On 27 November 2019, Walkup extended his contract with Žalgiris until the summer of 2021. [16]

On June 11, 2021, Walkup signed a three-year deal with Greek club Olympiacos of the EuroLeague. [17] On April 12, 2023, he agreed on a three-year contract extension through 2027.

National team career

On April 18, 2023, Walkup received Greek citizenship, via honorary naturalization signed by the Ministry of Interior, Makis Voridis, as well as the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou which thus enabled the player to appear with the senior Greek national team in major FIBA international competitions, and to also be able to compete as a native player in Greece's top-tier level national domestic basketball competitions, the Greek Basket League, the Greek Basketball Cup, and the Greek Basketball Super Cup.

Career statistics

Legend
  GPGames played  GS Games started MPG Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage 3P%  3-point field-goal percentage FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game APG  Assists per game SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game PPG Points per game PIR  Performance Index Rating
 Bold Career high
Led the league

EuroLeague

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPGPIR
2018–19 Žalgiris 341816.8.485.295.8062.62.2.5.05.25.6
2019–20 282125.7.495.467.8573.65.51.0.19.612.7
2020–21 343424.1.423.371.9063.04.51.1.08.210.6
2021–22 Olympiacos 373722.3.416.297.7392.32.71.1.16.37.5
2022–23 414125.541.333.8542.85.61.8.17.311.5
Career17415122.4.521.349.8282.84.11.1.17.29.5

FIBA Champions League

YearTeamGPGSMPGFG%3P%FT%RPGAPGSPGBPGPPG
2017–18 Riesen Ludwigsburg 262627.1.515.367.8164.34.21.8.211
Career262627.1.515.367.8164.34.21.8.211

Awards and accomplishments

Club career

Riesen Ludwigsburg

Žalgiris Kaunas

Olympiacos

Individual

Personal life

Walkup was born on December 30, 1992, to Lisa and Raymond Walkup and was brought up in Pasadena, Texas. [6] He has an older brother named Nathan who played as a forward for the Texas A&M Aggies men's basketball team from the 2007–08 season to 2010–11 season. [4] Both players graduated at Deer Park High School and played under Coach Louis Means. Walkup has often been known for his beard, which drew the attention of several media outlets during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. [3] [5] [6] [19] Entering that year's tournament, he had not shaved since November 1, 2015. [6] Walkup claimed that he had been asked to shave it, but he felt that it fit in with Stephen F. Austin's mascot, the Lumberjacks. [3] His appearance has also been compared with Philadelphia Phillies baseball player Bryce Harper. He has also been nicknamed "Fresh Cut" by Barry Knight. [8]

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References

  1. "Walkup, Underwood Headline SFA All-SLC Honors". Stephen F. Austin State University Athletics. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Thomas Walkup bio". SFAJacks.com. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 Auerbach, Nicole. "Versatile star Thomas Walkup, and his beard, formidable force for Stephen F. Austin". USA Today . Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 Martinez, Jeri (November 18, 2010). "Walkup commits to Stephen F. Austin". YourHoustonNews.com. ASP Westward . Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 Johnson, Chris. "Unsung Thomas Walkup helping put Stephen F. Austin on the map". Sports Illustrated . Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Russo, Ralph D. "Doing it all: Versatile Walkup, Stephen F. Austin face Irish". Yahoo! Sports . Associated Press . Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  7. "SFA's Walkup Named Men's Basketball Player of the Year". Southland Conference. March 9, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  8. 1 2 Bontemps, Tim. "SFA's Thomas Walkup is going viral … as Bryce Harper look-alike". The Washington Post . Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  9. "BULLS FINALIZE TRAINING CAMP ROSTER". NBA.com. September 26, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  10. "BULLS WAIVE AVILA, SMITH-RIVERA AND WALKUP". NBA.com. October 21, 2016. Retrieved October 21, 2016.
  11. "Windy City Bulls Select Four Players in 2016 D-League Draft to Complete Training Camp Roster". NBA.com. October 30, 2016. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  12. "Thomas Walkup verstärkt die MHP RIESEN". MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg (in German). August 10, 2017. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  13. "Basketball in den Genen: Luke Sikma ist der "Most Valuable Player" der Saison 2017/2018".
  14. "Prasideda naujojo sezono darbai – į Kauną atvyks universalus gynėjas T.Walkupas (VIDEO)". zalgiris.lt (in Lithuanian). June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  15. "LKL sezono uždaryme – Š.Jasikevičiaus, E.Ulanovo ir "Žalgirio" triumfas". 15min.lt . Retrieved June 4, 2019.
  16. ""Žalgiris" pratęsė kontraktą su Walkupu". BasketNews.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  17. "Olympiacos announces three-year deal with Thomas Walkup". Sportando. June 11, 2021. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
  18. "Ο Τόμας Γουόκαπ αναδείχθηκε καλύτερος αμυντικός της EuroLeague, από την ένωση παικτών". to10.gr (in Greek). June 7, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  19. Schwartz, Paul (March 19, 2016). "Meet the red-bearded upstart who knocked out West Virginia". New York Post . Retrieved March 20, 2016.