Dec. 18, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - Recent ankle injuries may have slowed the University of Arizona's Luke Walton on the court, but that hasn't kept the All-American from reaching a personal milestone: graduation.
The 6-foot-8 senior forward from San Diego, Calif., will earn his bachelor's degree in family studies and participate in the university's graduation ceremonies this Saturday, Dec. 21. While he will miss the Wildcats' game at Louisiana State on the same day, Walton feels that his graduation ceremonies are equally as important.
"Getting my degree has always been a goal of mine," said Walton. "Since I'm not going to play Saturday, this (commencement) is something I really wanted to do. Graduating is a big deal for me."
Walton has been hobbled by his most recent ankle sprain suffered in practice on Dec. 9, which forced him to miss the team's win 73-70 win over Texas on Dec. 15 and Saturday's game at Louisiana State. He should return to action on Dec. 28 against Davidson in the Fiesta Bowl Classic honoring Bobbi Olson. In four games this season, Walton is averaging 5.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
For Walton, the timing could not have been better, as it allows his family to share in the festivities as well. Both of Luke's parents and his three brothers will be in attendance at Saturday's commencement. Luke is the third of four Walton siblings to earn his college degree. The youngest, Chris, is in his third year at San Diego State.
"We are very proud of Luke's accomplishment," said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. "Obviously, education is very important to the Walton family, and I know they will be happy and proud to see Luke walk with his graduating class."
In 105 career games played, Walton is averaging 8.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He currently ranks seventh on the school's all-time assist list with 458.
"I can't even begin to say how proud we are as parents to see Luke achieve his main goal in coming to the University of Arizona," said Bill Walton, Luke's father. "Education is the number one key to success and we've been ecstatic with the progress Luke has made at the U of A. We would also like to thank the people of Tucson for helping to make Luke's dreams come true."
Arizona's game at Louisiana State is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. CST. The contest can be seen nationally on ESPN2. It marks the Wildcats' third consecutive national cable television appearance.