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Syracuse women’s basketball freshman Julianna Walker has entered the transfer portal. After one season with the Orange, her father, Lonnie Walker, confirmed the decision to syracuse.com. Lonnie told syracuse.com that Walker officially entered the transfer portal on Sunday but informed acting head coach Vonn Read of her decision during her exit interview on March 10.
While she is currently in the transfer portal, Lonnie told The Daily Orange that returning to Syracuse is still a possibility. “(It) just depends on whoever they hire,” Lonnie said. Walker was one of former head coach Quentin Hillsman’s last recruits, and he watched her play in high school tournaments as the only head coach that consistently saw her play during the recruiting process.
“Probably 90% of the reason why we went to Syracuse was because of Coach Q and his belief in her at that early age,” Lonnie said in January. “He trusted her. He wanted her; he wanted her first.”
But Lonnie said Read held a different philosophy and told Walker he hadn’t seen her play since 2019. Walker played in 14 games during her only season with SU, collecting 90 total minutes throughout the season. Lonnie told syracuse.com that playing time and the program’s recent inconsistency in head coaching hires were the main factors in her decision. She averaged 1.6 points per game and 0.1 rebounds per game in that time.
“If you’ve never seen her play, now you put her in a box as just a shooter or something,” Lonnie said.
Lonnie said Read told Walker she’d get an opportunity to play but didn’t follow through on that commitment throughout the season. There was a “different mindset” than what both Walker and Lonnie were told while Hillsman recruited her. Lonnie told syracuse.com that Walker had wanted to redshirt earlier in the season but wasn’t allowed to, leaving “a bad taste at Syracuse.”
Walker committed to Syracuse after leading Annie Wright (Washington) Schools to its best finish in school history and being named 2020-21 Gatorade Washington Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
“We’re ready to move forward,” Lonnie said.
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