Former Providence great Jimmy Walker, the only player from a New England college to be selected with the first pick in the NBA draft, died Monday of lung cancer in Kansas City, Mo. He was 63.
In three seasons at Providence, Walker averaged 25.2 points per game and scored a total of 2,045, a school record that stood for 38 years until Ryan Gomes surpassed it in 2005.
"He was an amazing phenomenon," Jim Cox, who played with Walker in 1964, told the Providence Journal. "That he ended up at Providence College was a remarkable development. He was so good, so blessed. He was ahead of his time."
In 1967, Walker's senior season, the 6-foot-3 guard led the nation in scoring with a 30-point average and shot 49.2 percent from the field. He was an All-New England selection three times, as well as the 1967 New England Player of the Year.
Walker also was named an Associated Press All-American three times, including a first-team selection in 1967. a
Walker, a native of the Roxbury section of Boston, was drafted first overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1967 draft and averaged 16.7 points a game in nine NBA seasons.
It wasn't until the 1990s that Walker was known to be the father of NBA player Jalen Rose, who was part of Michigan's famed Fab Five of the 1990s. At one point they held the NCAA Division I record for most career points scored by a father-son duo.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.