Matt Walker’s return to the Valley

By Kate Dashiell

Matt Walker was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is currently a guard on the Men’s Basketball Team at Hudson Valley. He began playing basketball in sixth grade and hasn’t left the court yet.


Walter immediately knew that this is what he wanted to do and thanks his father and brother for introducing him to the sport.


“Not to mention, everybody in Brooklyn played,” Walker said.


But Walker is far from the average player and his passion and zeal for the sport are apparent when he talks.


Throughout high school, Walker played for his school team and during the off season he would play for Amateur Athletic Union, which is a league that travels around the United States.


With help from Walker, his team in AAU made it to Nationals in Florida and the Super 64 in Las Vegas.


His time spent practicing, playing, and traveling for basketball only reinforced in his mind his love for the sport.


But when high school graduation approached, Walker was still unsure of his plans. He knew staying in Brooklyn didn’t offer him a future so he began to seek answers.


“My coach for AAU knew Ken Dagostino who was the basketball coach at Hudson Valley a few years ago. He suggested that I go to school here and play for him and he put in a good word for me,” said Walker.


So Walker left his whole life in Brooklyn, including his friends and family, and resettled in Troy where he had nothing but the hopes of a future basketball career.


In the fall of 2011, he began playing for Hudson Valley under Kenneth Dagostino.


“He was great. He always had my back,” said Walker about his former coach. But that June, after struggling with academics that semester, Walker decided to return home to Brooklyn.           


A year passed and he decided it was time return to Hudson Valley. With a fresh wave of hope he planned on moving back to Troy to pursue a degree in physical education and continue playing basketball.


But at that time Coach Dagostino had been offered another job and would no longer be coaching for Walker’s team.


“I stuck with my decision,” said Walker. “Coach Long is a good guy too. He has a lot of experience. I got lucky.”


Walker feels good about his season so far, both academically and with sports.


“I can focus up here on what I need to do. Back home I get distracted,” he said.


The basketball team is certainly glad he stuck with his decision. Averaging 12 points a game, Walker is a valuable player and is only on track to get better.


“He’s one of our best on the ball defenders and his strength is attacking the rim, “said head coach Mike Long. “He’s also good at knowing where he needs to improve and working constantly to achieve it.”


Walker is on track to graduate from Hudson Valley this spring and he offered his advice to any struggling basketball players, stating, “You never know what you’re going to face throughout a season. Stay positive, stick with it.”


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