Walters is finally on the rise

After an injury sidelined him early in his career, Walters is making his mark

Photo by Back Nguyen
Photo by Back Nguyen

Aiddian Walters’ time as a Golden Hawk has been an up-and-down experience.

The Wilfrid Laurier University basketball player has battled through injury to become a prominent figure on a young 2014-2015 team.

Walters came to Laurier by way of Vaughan Secondary School. He was a product of a dominant program that won an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship and housed NBA first overall pick Andrew Wiggins.

“We were a great team,” said the third-year forward. “We went to OFSAA, quad-A and we actually won the championship. I played alongside Andrew Wiggins, former Queen’s player Roshane Roberts and a lot of other players that continued to play university basketball.”

Aside from the exposure to star-level talent, Walters said he believes the competitive nature of his team furthered his progression as a player.

“Just to really work hard, and don’t stop. Basically every day in practice we were going at each other. Even if we won the game by 30 points, 40 points, we would still go just as hard as if we lost,” he said.

This hard-working nature is something that has meshed well with the Laurier program, where coach Peter Campbell and his staff preach a nose-to-the-grindstone brand of basketball.

“Coach Campbell is a great guy. He’s really honest at practice. Basically, he wants the best out of everybody. He always preaches that we need to work hard for 40 minutes of basketball and we’re just trying to bring that to reality,” said Walters.

Walters seemed on pace for Golden Hawk stardom. His minutes grew as he progressed from freshman to sophomore. In his second season, he averaged 25 minutes per game and shot 40 per cent from the field.However, in May of 2013 Walters tore his labrum. A painful injury affecting the cartilage that helps maintain the stability of the shoulder, Walters was looking at a lengthy absence.

“That was really hard for me,” he said. “Doctors told me I wasn’t going to be able to play for at least a year.”

During his recovery, Walters leaned heavily on those around him in the Laurier basketball program.

“My coach kept saying, ‘Don’t worry, Aiddian, you’ll be fine.’ My teammates also gave me the same support, and coach told me to come to practices every day, to try to work on my conditioning and possibly get ready for the season. Basically, he gave me hope that I may be able to return.”

Though the recovery process was a trying one, Walters has returned strong for the 2014 season.

He brings energy to the court that augments his team’s offence and defence, and thus far has achieved great individual success as well. His 10 points per game is a career high, and has added other career high averages in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks.

Walters’ success is something he feels has solidified his role on the team and has smoothed his integration into the roster following his injury.

“I’ve really liked my role so far,” he said. “My coach has been giving me confidence so that’s helped me out a lot, especially after an injury when I haven’t played much.”

But past his personal successes this season, Walters also feels this Golden Hawk roster has a bright future.

“Well, so far, our team is really young, so we still have a lot of time to improve. Right now my confidence is really high, my teammates are looking out for me, and my coach is giving me confidence. We’re headed in the right direction,” he said, adding, “It starts out in practice. We’ve just got to go hard every day in practice, listen to what our coach is telling us, and bring that to the game.”

Walters will take that work ethic to Hamilton on Jan. 7 as the Golden Hawks  visit the McMaster Marauders on the road to kick off the second half of the year.

Leave a Reply