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Jenny Walker leads her way on the court to commitment with NYU By Josephine Yee

For the peers involved in senior Jenny Walker’s life, it doesn’t take long for them to mention her outstandingly humorous nature, her drive for success or her focused mindset on one of the things that she is most passionate about: basketball.

As a post player for Redwood’s girls varsity basketball team, Jenny Walker (30) fiercely blocks the ball from turning over in the first MCAL game of the season against San Marin.

Walker began playing basketball in fourth grade for Catholic Youth Organization (CYO). She also partook in swimming, but later decided to solely focus her efforts on basketball three years later. Upon starting high school, the standout player made Redwood’s girls varsity basketball team as a freshman and has been of value to the team ever since.

Over the past four years on varsity, Walker has continued on a steady path of growth. As of now, her passion for basketball propels her leadership on the court.

“You just learn how to work with people. When you’re a freshman, you learn how to follow other people’s examples and then when you’re a junior and a senior, you have to lead by example,” Walker said.

Gabby Beltran, another valuable player on varsity, serves as point guard and has known Walker since middle school. Forming an undeniably strong relationship by playing together on various teams, Beltran describes Walker as a character full of admirable talent in addition to an enlightening comedic presence.

“She’s definitely the hype man of the team. If she gets a basket or another person gets a basket, it’s the same amount of ecstatic energy from her. She always has your back and is willing to support you and hype you up whenever you’re feeling down,” Beltran said.

With a varsity cumulative average of 8.9 points scored per each game, according to MaxPreps, and an average of 13.5 points scored during this season so far, Walker’s talent is well beyond just her leadership skills. Coaching Walker since the seventh grade, Diane Peterson, Redwood’s current girls' varsity basketball coach, has witnessed Walker improve on and off the court.

“I believe Jenny gives off a dominating presence as a leader when she's on the court. She always wants to make a big play, whether it's a great move to the basket on offense or a great defensive play and a block on defense. She talks to her teammates throughout the game which also makes her presence known on the court,” Peterson said.

Over the past few years, Walker has been awarded a variety of recognitions, including an honorable mention for MCALS and the Marin Independent Journal’s “Girls Prep of the Week.” She also had the opportunity to play for Cal Stars, an elite girls’ basketball program that allowed her to travel to various locations around the nation to play in tournaments against other elite teams.

As the next step in her basketball career, Walker has committed to New York University (NYU), which offers Division III athletics. After participating in a recruiting tournament for Cal Stars in Chicago, NYU reached out to her.

“At first, I wanted to go to a really big school, but then I realized that in college I want to focus on my academics and I want to play basketball, so I started looking at Division IIIs. I went to smaller schools like Vassar and Smith but I just felt like they were too small,” Walker said. “I visited and I saw everything that I had to see, but with New York, every day there’s something happening.”

Since middle school, her dream college for playing basketball had been Stanford, but as she progressed, her mindset shifted.

“I realized that it’s okay if you’re not the best. I was getting so caught up in not being on the top team and not scoring enough points, but once I took away that mindset of, ‘I’m not scoring,’ I started scoring way more,” Walker said.

After completing college, playing basketball professionally is not a part of Walker’s plans, but she says it will always be an integral part of her life. She hopes to play basketball for the college team, but to also focus on her academics while studying marketing and communications at NYU. Upon graduating, her history with the sport will remain as an emphasized sentimental value.

“I am going to be that parent in the stands at my child’s basketball game cheering. I am going to have a hoop at my house playing with my kids. It’s always going to be a part of me,” Walker said.

Photos by Josephine Yee

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Josephine Yee

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