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Kourtney Walton leaves the Scarlet Knights!

          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:
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Published in the Asbury Park Press 2/07/01
              By GREG TUFARO
              STAFF WRITER

              PISCATAWAY -- Nobody saw this coming. Not her parents, coaches, teammates or friends.

              Sophomore Kourtney Walton shocked the women's basketball community yesterday, leaving the
              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
              Year.

              "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
              words together."

              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
              at 7.

              Published on February 7, 2001

The Rutgers Community is United but shocked.