Travis Walton is a 23 year old 187cm point guard from Lima, Ohio. He is playing his first season with Ratiopharm Ulm. He played at Michigan State from 2005-2009 where he served as team captain for three consecutive years, being the 3rd in history of Michigan State school to do that. Led the Big 10 in assist to turnover ratio 2.4 to 1 and broke Magic Johnson’s career assist record at Michigan State. Walton possesses great toughness, strength and leadership skills and is an exceptional defender. Last season he played shortly for Lugano Tigers (Switzerland-LNA, starting five), left in Dec.’09: 13 games: 8.9ppg, 1.2rpg, Assists-5(4.9apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 52.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 85.7% before returning back to Michigan State to help the coaching staff. Some achievements that he has received were Big Ten Tournament Semifinals -06, 08, 09, Big Ten All-Defensive Team -07, 09, NCAA Sweet 16 -08, Big Ten Regular Season Champion -09, and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year -09. Walton took the rapid 10 Miles questions basketball exchange for German Hoops.
Coach Mike Taylor is well known for having magical strength of getting players to come to Ulm to play. How did coach Taylor persuade you to come to Ulm?
Well firstly, Mike Taylor is a great guy and I had met him out in Vegas while I was playing basketball last year, so we already knew each other a little bit. Then when we talked over the phone and he told me about the team and that Ratiopharm Ulm is a great organization, I just knew it would be a great fit for me.
I am not sure what Lima, Ohio looks like, but you must be fascinated somewhat by the city of Ulm and the countryside?
Well Lima, Ohio is just a small town with great people, but I love it because its home for me. Yes, Ulm is a beautiful city with an awsome landscape to match its beauty. The down town area is very nice and the people are very welcoming and nice too. Also, they have the world tallest church so that is pretty cool.
How quickly were you able to digest being waived by Lugano Tigers last season despite having good stats and doing your job as a playmaker? Did you learn anything from this experience?
Well Lugano was a great city and I had some great teammates there, however, I believe everything happens for a reason. It was the first time I had ever been waived by a team but being released was actually a blessing in disguise, because I was able to go back to Michigan State and finish my degree. So, I graduated in May of this year and that was the most important because I had promised my grandmother I would graduate. Yes, I learned a lot from that experience. The main thing is you can’t control everything. You just have to put it in God’s hands and let him take you where he wants you to go. Proverbs 3:4-6.
How was training camp for you? What has been the most difficult adjustments that you have had to make on the court?
Training camp wasgood. It’s always good to get to know new teammates and to start playing again. I think the biggest adjustment is starting to get back into game tempo. It’s all coming together but you have to go through the bumps and I had to realize that I haven’t played on a team since December, so I got to get my feel back. But it’s basketball so things will come together because I worked hard on my game this summer.
You will be the starting point guard. Do you feel a lot of pressure of having to perform in the tough BEKO BBL?(Sorry Per, I forgot about you, forgive me)
Well actually we have Per Guenther who was on the national team and a very good player, so he and I will both be playing the point guard. The BEKO BBL is a very tough league and I am excited and welcome the challenge to play in it. I come from the Big Ten which is very similar to the style of play as the BBL, so I think it will be a great opportunity for me to compete in the league.
Mike Taylor and Thomas Stoll have done another great job of putting together a good looking team on paper. This could be a playoff team. What kind of style can we await from the team this season?
Yes, Mike Taylor and Thomas Stoll have put together a very good team on paper. We have some great big men with a lot of size. I think we will be an inside outside team because our big men are very good. We also have Robin Benzing who is a tall and talented player, so hopefully we can put it all together and be able to compete in the tough BBL.
What is a hidden strength in your game that nobody really knows about?
Well I think a hidden strength is that people don’t really think I can score and I can. Going to a big time school like Michigan State University, you have to be a really good player in high school and score. In every great team you have to play a role and my role for Michigan State was to be a leader, great defender and control the team which I did pretty well. So if I would say a hidden strength of mine would be I can do a lot more than just Defend and pass.
How often do you get reminded that you have broken Magic Johnson assist record at Michigan State?
Well I’m often reminded a lot because that is a great honor to say you have more assist than Magic Johnson one of the top 5 greatest players to play the game of basketball.
Were you sad that Lebron James left the Cavs? How well will the Miami Heat do this season?
Well I wasn’t sad because I know that was the best decision he felt for himself. I like to see people do well and be happy, so I see that he is happy with his decision and I’m a Lebron fan so I’m still going to cheer for him. I think Miami will do great next year. I’m not going to jump on the band wagon and say they are going to win the championship because they still have to go through the eastern conference champs. THE BOSTON CELTICS (who are looking loaded rite now) and also the other tough eastern teams. I will say I believe in a couple of years that they will have a ring.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
Well , the last DVD movie I saw was the Kevin Hart comedy show and it was hilarious. If anyone gets a chance to check him out watch him because the guy is hilarious. PEACE
Thanks Travis fort he chat! Good luck this season.