Basketball is a team game, but it’s hard to overlook the play of Krystal Leger-Walker in the Women’s Basketball Championship (WBC).
Fresh off her third season at the University of North Colorado (UNC), the 21-year-old is averaging 15 points, four assists, five rebounds and close to four steals per game for the Waikato Wizards.
The Tall Fern hasn’t got ahead of herself though, recognising that her individual success hasn’t translated into a desirable amount of wins.
“Obviously it’s cool to get some personal recognition but the number one thing for me is winning,” Leger-Walker said.
“We have a good team and we want to be in the mix for the championship, which means we need to be in the top four.
“It’s a process and I think we’re on the right track.”
Those familiar with basketball in this country are accustomed to reading the name “Leger-Walker”, as the family continues to dominate on the court.
Mother Leanne Walker was a two-time Olympian and is a legend of the sport in New Zealand. Following her playing career, she went about mentoring the next generation and is in her fifth year coaching of the Wizards.
She is also accompanied by younger sister Charlisse Leger-Walker, who has also donned the black singlet and just returned home with a silver medal from the Under 18 3x3 World Cup in Mongolia.
There’s also word that youngest sibling Tannika Leger-Walker is also following in her families' footsteps after being recognised by Basketball New Zealand’s National Talent Programme for a tour of Australia.
It’s fair to say the apples don’t fall far from the tree, but Krystal Leger-Walker said there’s a misconception when it comes to the families’ sporting success.
“The reason I wanted to play basketball was a combination of my own desires and the influence of my mum.
“I think a lot of people think we were made to play and that’s totally not the case.
“All of us girls love the game and play it because of what we get out of it. We were all just very fortunate to have someone like mum there for when we wanted to take it more seriously.”
Her development as a player has grown after spending time in the United States (US) collegiate system, where she will return to at the end of the WBC.
She has followed her college coach from UNC to Washington University, having played an integral part in the aforementioned's most successful era of women’s basketball.
Leger-Walker jokingly credits the altitude in Colorado to the advancement in her abilities.
“My time at UNC saw my play develop and change, but for the better.
“The resources and expert coaching made available to me really helped me both on and off the court.
Her transfer, unfortunately, makes her ineligible for a season, so she won’t be able to play for her new school until the 2020-21 season.
For now, she is invested in leading the Wizards to a National title and working on her game to ensure she returns to the US a better player than what she left.
Their game this weekend will be live streamed, where they play the Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats this Saturday (June 15) at St Peters School, Cambridge at 1pm.
Individual game stats here
Watch the following livestream games on http://nz.basketball/tv
Auckland Dream vs Harbour Breeze (7pm Friday)
Waikato Wizards vs Alloyfold Canterbury Wildcats (1pm Saturday)
Watch the 2019 Women’s Basketball Championship on the livestream through Facebook @BasketballNZ, hashtag #NZWBC.
See the draw, results and teams and more at http://nz.basketball/WBC
Want to play basketball? Contact your local association through http://nz.basketball/The-Huddle