Destinee Walker: Big Dream To Make A Difference
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Destinee Walker (Lake Highland Prep School/Orlando, Fla.) is the youngest and shortest member of the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team, but don’t let her petite frame and smile distract you from the mighty warrior this Florida native truly is.
Walker started playing on her school’s varsity basketball team when she was in the seventh grade. Being 13 already is an intense time for a teenager, and becoming a starting point guard only adds to the intensity.
Anybody else might have buckled with the pressure, but Walker instead rose to the occasion.
“Ever since I was young, I’ve played up,” Walker said of playing with girls older than her. “Even though I was 13 and playing varsity, I was expected to step up; I would start and would have to pick up on things quickly. I had no excuses.”
The same mentality that Walker acquired in her teens is one that she has carried throughout her life and one that she is employing this summer during the USA Basketball Women’s U18 training camp.
With older and more experienced players on the roster, Walker is taking advantage of their knowledge and taking every correction, suggestion and experience as a learning moment.
“I don’t think being the youngest is a disadvantage,” Walker said. “But coming into training camp, I have definitely learned a lot because some of the girls are already in college and have learned techniques I haven’t. Especially different offensive and defensive perspectives.”
Absorbing new information and taking mental notes in training camp are a few of the things that Walker does to get better and to be better.
In addition to basketball, Walker also likes to excel in the classroom. She is planning to pursue chemistry as her college major, or a related science field, and her dream is to become a pediatrician.
“I have always wanted to be a pediatrician, ever since I was young. I love children.”
With lofty goals and a passion for the game of basketball, Walker seems to be balancing it all. Planning ahead, benefitting from an education with an emphasis on strong academics and keeping a tight schedule are factors that she says are allowing her to stay on the right track.
Another factor also is a strong presence in her life – her mother.
Walker and her mom have a very close relationship, and Walker says that without her, none of her achievements would have ever been possible.
“It’s been me and my mother for a long time, ever since I was five years old,” she said. “So my countless hours in the gym, it’s been her and I. She’s always helped me a ton.”
Excited to continue her academic journey and finally make her big decision of where she will play collegiate basketball, Walker says she can’t wait for her senior year of high school to start.
For now, however, she is focused on her training with her USA teammates as they get ready to open up play in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship against Mexico on Aug. 6 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“I’m really excited to be here with my teammates, and I’m ready to compete; it’s a great opportunity. We want to win the gold.”