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Counting down MSU’s top 50 basketball players all-time: No. 17 – Horace Walker

This is the 34th in a 50-day summer series, counting down the top players in Michigan State basketball history, as I see them. The criteria is impact and performance at MSU only, professional career irrelevant. Have your own opinion? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

No. 17 – Horace Walker
Forward, 1957-60, Chester, Pa.

The Skinny: The legend of Jumpin’ Johnny Green overshadows Walker in Spartan lore. They’re of the same era and overlapped for parts of two seasons. But at just 6-foot-3, there has never been a better rounder per inch at MSU than Walker. He averaged 17.7 rebounds in 1959-60, second only to Green’s 17.8 mark set two years earlier. Walker and Green also stand toe-to-toe, Nos. 1 and 2, in greatest single-game rebounding performances in program history, each with outings of 29 and 28. Walker also had games of 26 rebounds, 24 (three times), 23, 21 and 20.

Horace Walker averaged 17.7 rebounds per game in 1959-60, and holds many of the top single-game rebounding performances in MSU history. (MSU Athletic Communications)

In 1959-60, the year after Green’s departure, Walker was first-team All-Big Ten and a third team Associated Press All-American. A year earlier, he played with Green on the 1959 Big Ten championship and NCAA tournament club, averaging 13.5 rebounds. He scored 20 points in the Spartans’ tournament win over Marquette that season.

Gus Ganakas described the versatile Walker as “the perfect player.”

Why he’s No. 17: His rebounding numbers — even in the inflated by era in which he played — are impossible to ignore. Other than Green, no one comes close to Walker’s totals in 1959-60. He was a good scorer, too, though fell shy of 1,000 points at MSU because he only played two full seasons. He might be higher on this list if not for academic ineligibility at the midpoint of his sophomore season in 1957-58. After a 7-1 start, with MSU ranked No. 6 in the country, Walker was lost for the season. That team narrowly missed a Big Ten title, in the middle year of what could have been three straight, and three straight NCAA tournaments.

Previously …
No. 18: Kalin Lucas
No. 19: Adreian Payne
No. 20: Drew Neitzel
No. 21: Lindsay Hairston
No. 22: Maurice Ager
No. 23: Paul Davis
No. 24: Andre Hutson
No. 25: Lee Lafayette
No. 26: Gary Harris
No. 27: Darryl Johnson
No. 28: Jack Quiggle
No. 29: Jason Richardson
No. 30: Stan Washington
No. 31: Antonio Smith
No. 32: Eric Snow
No. 33: Chet Aubuchon
No. 34: Mike Peplowski
No. 35: Keith Appling
No. 36: Shannon Brown
No. 37: Kirk Manns
No. 38: Goran Suton
No. 39: Alan Anderson
No. 40: Branden Dawson
No. 41: Bill Kilgore
No. 42: Pete Gent
No. 43: Al Ferrari
No. 44: Ken Redfield
No. 45: Chris Hill
No. 46: Raymar Morgan
No. 47: Kevin Smith
No. 48: Kevin Willis
No. 49: Matt Steigenga
No. 50: Marcus Taylor

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3 Responses to Counting down MSU’s top 50 basketball players all-time: No. 17 – Horace Walker

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Any chance Julius McCoy gets a look?

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    ” Should tomorrows sweet 16 been 31, you get to feeling tired when the work days done, come back Thursday cause Graham Couch never forgets”

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