Pastner Recommends Luke Walton For Tigers Hoops Assistant Coach Position
Aug. 22, 2011
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Luke Walton, a member of the 2009 and 2010 NBA World Champion Los Angeles Lakers, has been recommended to join the Memphis men's basketball coaching staff, head coach Josh Pastner announced Monday. Walton's hiring is pending approval of the University and Tennessee State Board of Regents.
Walton was also a member of two other Lakers squads that advanced to the NBA Finals (2004, 2008). Of his eight seasons in the NBA, Walton's teams have made seven playoff appearances.
"Luke is going to bring great excitement and great energy to the Tigers program, and we're thrilled to have him," said Pastner. "Luke is someone who has not only played for but also learned from arguably one of the greatest coaches in basketball history in Phil Jackson. Luke's also played with and against the best-of-the-best at the highest level of basketball in the NBA, including being a teammate of one of the NBA's all-time greats in Kobe Bryant.
"Luke will be a great coach because he brings a wealth of knowledge and a winning attitude to the Tigers program. His experiences, which include playing in four NBA Finals and winning two NBA World Championships, are lessons that he can share with our players to help them grow and develop their games."
Walton, who has two years left on his contract with the Lakers through 2012-13, will remain on the Tigers staff until the resumption of the current NBA season.
A 2003 NBA Draft second-round pick by the Lakers, Walton has played his entire NBA career in Los Angeles. In his eight seasons in the NBA, Walton is averaging 5.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Statistically, Walton's best season with the Lakers was the 2006-07 campaign when he posted averages of 11.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists - all career-high season averages. He started a career-best 60 games and also recorded career marks for a season in minutes per game (33.0) and field goal percentage (47.4). That season, Los Angeles went 42-40, finished second in the Pacific Division and lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
In 2007-08, Walton played a career-high 74 games in helping lead the Lakers to the NBA Finals, where they dropped a six-game decision to the Celtics. He averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists that year.
A 2003 University of Arizona graduate, Walton suited up for Wildcats' Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson from 1999-2003. The 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward helped lead Arizona to a combined record of 107-29, four-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, three NCAA Sweet Sixteens (2001, 2002, 2003), two NCAA Elite Eight (2001, 2003), one NCAA Final Four (2001) and one NCAA championship game appearance (2001). A two-time team captain, Walton was a member of Arizona teams that won two Pacific-10 Conference regular season crowns (1999-2000, 2002-03) and finished runner-up twice (2000-01, 2001-02).
A consensus All-America pick for the 2001-02 season, Walton was named to the John Wooden and collegehoopsinsider.com All-America first team, The Sporting News and Basketball News All-America second team and Basketball Times All-America third team. One of 20 finalists for the 2002 Wooden Award, Walton also garnered All-Pacific-10 Conference honors that same season.
As a senior in 2002-03, Walton earned Associated Press All-America honorable mention distinction, in addition to a second-straight All-Pac-10 honor. He also was named to the 2003 NCAA Tournament All-West Region Team.
Other honors earned by Walton were Pac-10 Conference All-Freshman Team honorable mention (1999-2000), United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-District 9 Team (2001-02) and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 15 Team (2001-02, 2002-03).
Walton, who redshirted his freshman year in 1998-99, finished his collegiate career having played in 129 games and posting averages of 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He shot 42.6 percent from the field and 68.5 percent from the free throw line.
Walton is the son of former UCLA Bruin and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton. The father-son tandem is the first in NBA history to each win multiple NBA titles, with Bill claiming crowns in 1977 (Portland) and 1986 (Boston) and Luke in 2009 and 2010 (both with Los Angeles).
Bill faced then Memphis State in the 1973 NCAA Tournament championship game, with the Bruins winning 87-66. Bill scored 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting from the field and 2-of-5 from the free throw line.