Heights’ Zyanna Walker chooses Louisville basketball

By Joanna Chadwick

The events of the past 18 months pushed Heights senior Zyanna Walker.

First it was an ACL injury to her left knee, which kept her from finishing her sophomore basketball season. Then a meniscus tear kept her from her expected return during junior season. And finally, a swollen knee after one game in June delayed her return yet again.

But on Tuesday, Walker had a huge day as she announced her commitment to play at Louisville.

“I felt at home when I went to visit,” Walker said.

She had taken six other unofficial visits in June, hitting Mississippi State, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisville in the same week. After coming home for a few days with her mom and her 14-year-old sister, Zarianna, they left for Baylor and Texas Tech.

“(Louisville was) honest with what they saw me coming to their program for and what they envision me doing,” she said. “He wasn’t coming in and telling me I’d be a starter … I have to work for that.”

Walker said Louisville is looking at her to play point guard or shooting guard, depending on who is on the court with her.

She can do it all — she’s got ballhandling skills, she can create for herself or her teammates, she can get to the rim and score or knock down shots from outside.

She also has picked up a lot while watching from the sideline during her injury.

“I’ve been able to see the game better and I’m smarter,” Walker said. “The pace of the game — you can get sped up when you’re out there, but on the sideline, it’s a really simple game.”

Her goal was to not waste time while she recovered from surgery and then rehabbed her knee.

“I wanted to keep learning and keep growing and make the most of it,” she said.

While she has played one game in 18 months, it didn’t stop coaches from recruiting her.

“I had a really good summer going into my sophomore year,” Walker said. “I was playing my best basketball and I was one of the best in the country. They know if I trained and did the rehab right, I’ll come back better.”

Surrounded by her family and her summer coach, Walker had the support system necessary to battle through the adversity, as well.

“I knew that I just got to stay motivated and know that it wasn’t going to last forever,” she said.

Her knee is feeling better. And in a week she’ll be playing basketball again.

Exactly what Walker worked for.