Woodward’s basketball team advanced to the Final Four this year for the first time since 1997. We talked with junior basketball player Walker Kessler about the experience and his goals for the future. Walker is one of the top basketball prospects in the country, ranked as a five-star prospect by 247sports.
War Eagle Watch: What did it feel like to make it all the way to the Final Four this year?
Walker Kessler: It was a great feeling. It was a big step up for the basketball program and everyone on the team. We put in the work and it paid off.
WEW: You’re one of the most highly sought after basketball recruits in the country — how do you balance recruiting, playing, and also a rigorous academic schedule?
WK: The main thing I try to focus on is the time management. I’m still working on this all the time, but I feel it has helped me a lot. A way I look at the academic side is that I try to treat it like a competition, and my competitiveness takes over from there. With the recruiting process, I just try to enjoy it as much as I can because you only feel this wanted once.
WEW: What has being a part of the basketball team at Woodward taught you? What have you learned from Coach Thomas?
WK: Being part of the basketball team has really taught me to overcome adversity and embrace change. My first year on the team was difficult because it was a larger environment and different than my old school. Coach Thomas has taught me a lot, but the main thing he has taught the team is to be a great man on and off the court. This is the most valuable thing, in my opinion, that he has taught us.
WEW: What made you want to start playing basketball in the first place?
WK: My whole family grew up playing basketball, so I was no different. When I first started playing, I fell in love with the game and am still loving it today.
WEW: What are your goals for next season?
WK: The main goal is definitely to win a state title.
WEW: What schools are most interesting to you at this point for college? When are you hoping to make a decision?
WK: With colleges, I can’t really say which schools are most interesting to me and which aren’t, but I want to make a decision before my senior year basketball.
WEW: What are your goals for college and beyond?
WK: I want to have a successful career at whatever school I go to, on and off the court. I want to get a good education. And ultimately, I want to have a successful career in the NBA.