Rutgers Announced on Tuesday, February 7, 2001 that sophomore guard/forward,
Kourtney Walton has left the team for personal reasons, Below is all of
the information that I could find out about this event:
Talk about it on the Rutgers Message Board
Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/07/01
By GREG TUFARO
PISCATAWAY -- Nobody saw this coming. Not her parents, coaches, teammates or friends.
Sophomore Kourtney Walton shocked the women's basketball community yesterday,
12th-ranked Rutgers program for personal reasons.
"I'm stunned," head coach Vivian Stringer said. "To tell you the truth,
none of us can really put our hand
on what it was (but) I'll bet good money that she just doesn't want to play basketball."
Walton did not return messages left at her dorm room yesterday, but her
mother, Charity Bishop, and her
high school coach, Dorothy Gaters, both confirmed Stringer's speculation.
"She just says that she lost her desire to play," said Gaters, the head
coach at John Marshall High School
in Chicago, where Walton was a Parade All-American and the 1999 USA Today Illinois Player of the
"She just said that basketball lost its edge with her. She didn't say why."
A 6-foot guard/forward, Walton started 12 of 20 games this season, averaging
7.5 points and leading the
team in 3-point field goals. Walton's only sign of lost passion was missing the first game of her career
on Sunday for personal reasons.
"You can never really know what's going on in Kourtney's mind," Stringer
said. "Kourtney is so quiet.
She could sit in your house for 24 hours and you might get a 15-minute conversation if you put all the
Bishop said Walton has not yet decided whether she plans to remain in school, transfer, or return home.
Gaters will try convincing Walton to stay at Rutgers. One of her current
players, senior guard Cappie
Pondexter, the reigning Illinois Player of the Year and Walton's best friend, signed in November to play
for the Scarlet Knights.
"Cappie and I haven't discussed that," Gaters said of how Walton's decision
might impact Pondexter,
"but we are going to try real hard to keep Kourtney there. I'm very hopeful that things will change."
Walton's scholarship, like that of all Division I student-athletes, is
renewed annually. She has a meeting
scheduled tomorrow to discuss her future with athletics director Bob Mulcahy.
Stringer indicated Walton is welcome to return to the team.
"If you ask me did I leave the door open," Stringer said, "we didn't talk
about the door one way or the
other. (But) I didn't say, 'That's it!' "
Other than a bout of homesickness last year, Walton showed no signs of
discontent. She had struggled
offensively recently, shooting 24 percent (10 of 41) from the floor in her last five games.
"She did not indicate that she was unhappy with the school or the program,"
said Gaters, noting that
Walton did miss her mom. "They have about the closest relationship that I've ever seen between a parent
and a child."
Bishop said she thought homesickness factored into Walton's decision.
"I offered to come down there to stay until she finished, but she said that wouldn't happen," she said.
Dr. Ben Brennan, director of staff psychology at Montclair State who works
as a sports psychologist for
the Seton Hall women's basketball program, said athletes are burning out at a higher rate than ever.
"I haven't seen studies that would indicate that," Brennan said, "but the
general consensus is that this
generation of athletes really started playing the sport earlier than a lot of previous generations and
specializing in their sport at a much earlier age. Sometimes that does lead to someone getting burned out,
and by the time they are in college it becomes more of a job, not just fun anymore."
A Hall of Fame coach in her 27th season, Stringer said none of her players
has ever lost her zeal. The
only other Stringer recruit to transfer out of Rutgers was Andrea Honeycutt, who left the team in 1998
for personal reasons.
Walton, rated the nation's No. 1 freshman by Athlon Sport magazine last
year, had just started living up
to her potential. She scored a career-high 19 points in a Jan. 10 overtime win at Providence, including a
game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.
"I haven't spoken with her about her decision," said guard Karlita Washington,
one of four senior
starters, "but it hurts us a lot because Kourtney was a key player."
The Scarlet Knights (15-5, 7-2) have seven regular-season games remaining.
They host Syracuse tonight
Published on February 7, 2001