The Philadelphia 76ers held their first pre-draft group workouts at their practice facility in Camden, N.J., in preparation for the 2018 NBA Draft later this month.
The Sixers worked out six draft prospects on Monday, including Reading, Pennsylvania native, and former University of Miami guard Lonnie Walker.
Walker spent only one season with the Hurricanes, before deciding to take his talents to the NBA.
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As a freshman, he averaged 11.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 27.8 minutes per game. Walker also shot 41.5 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from three-point range on five attempts per game.
The 6-foot-4 guard is quickly rising up draft boards and could be selected between picks 10-20 in the NBA draft.
Walker was excited to work out for his childhood team, who coincidentally own the tenth overall pick.
“Honestly, it’s very surreal,” he said. “Growing up [in Reading], you’re about 45 minutes from here, you watch almost every basketball [game]. The pride that this city brings to the 76ers is similar to back home in Reading, Pennsylvania, the pride of our basketball team. It’s amazing, it’s beautiful. Once I came into the gym and I saw 76ers, I was like, “Wow.”
The city of Reading, Pennsylvania, which is about 63 miles outside of the Philadelphia, is near and dear to Walker’s heart. He was an outstanding player at Reading High School and led his team to a PIAA Class 6A state championship in 2017.
The 2017 McDonald’s All-American product had opportunities to go play elsewhere, but decided to stay at Reading HS for various reasons.
“I’m all about motivation and creating a message,” Walker said. “Growing up in Reading, you don’t have too many people who have father figures to be motivated by.”
It was a profound statement by the well-spoken Walker, who earlier in the hour was just going through multiple drills and tests. He also knows that making the NBA means a lot not only to himself, but also to the kids of Reading.
“Me staying in Reading, I wanted to prove to the kids, prove to the youth, through hard work and dedication you can be anyone you want to be.”
At Monday’s pre-draft workout, Walker explained that he would be honored to play for the Sixers, but still has a message to prove at the end of the day.
“It would be a privilege, that’s God-given. It’s about hard work and dedication, but at this point, I’m not picky, wherever I go,” he said. “I want to change the world each and every day. One of my first steps is Reading, Pa.”