BOSTON – Eastern Kentucky University junior guard Corey Walden was named to the 2013-14 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team by CollegeInsider.com and is one of 25 finalists for the 2014 Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Walden helped the Colonels (24-10) capture the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship and earn the program’s eighth NCAA Tournament bid.
The Daytona Beach, Fla., native was also chosen as the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and as the Most Valuable Player of the OVC Tournament in March.
Walden was a key factor in Eastern Kentucky leading the OVC in scoring defense (70.0 ppg) during the regular season and scoring margin (+7.8 points/game). The junior, who was often given the task of defending the other team’s best guard, finished first in the conference with 2.2 steals per game. He ranked 16th in the nation with 76 steals.
Overall, Walden had at least one steal in 30 of EKU’s 34 games and had 34 total steals over the team’s last 12 contests, including 14 combined in three OVC Tournament games and one NCAA Tournament game. As a team Eastern Kentucky ranks sixth nationally with 299 steals, 76 of which belong to Walden.
In three OVC Tournament games, Walden averaged 23.3 points, 3.7 steals, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists. He made 66 percent of his shots from the field and 91 percent at the stripe. He scored a career-best 29 points in the championship game against Belmont.
For the season, Walden averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
The winner of the 2014 Driesell award will be announced at the CollegeInsider.com Awards Banquet on April 4 in Dallas, site of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
The Lefty Driesell award is named in honor of coaching legend Lefty Driesell, who is the only person to ever win 100 games at four different Division I schools. He is best known for his time at Maryland, leading the program to the National Invitational Tournament title in 1972 and its second-ever ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. He finished his career at Maryland with a 348-159 record and concluded his career with an impressive 786-394 mark.
The 2013-14 Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America team and finalist for the Driesell Award include: Cameron Ayers (Bucknell), Khem Birch (UNLV), Alec Brown (Green Bay), Rhamel Brown (Manhattan), Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky), Tekele Cotton (Wichita State), Aaron Craft (Ohio State), Scott Eatherton (Northeastern), Joel Embiid (Kansas), Justin Jackson (Cincinnati), Jordair Jett (Saint Louis), Nick Johnson (Arizona), Du’Vaughn Maxwell (Hampton), K.J. McDaniels (Clemson), Daniel Miller (Georgia Tech), Chris Obekpa (St. John’s), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana at Lafayette), Trevor Releford (Alabama), Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Kenneth Smith (Louisiana Tech), Corey Walden (Eastern Kentucky), Scottie Wilbekin (Florida), Kendall Williams (New Mexico), Briante Weber (VCU) and Patric Young (Florida).
Walden has helped EKU to its winningest two-year stretch in program history. In his first year as a Colonel the team won a school-record 25 games. With 24 more wins this season, the team broke the previous mark of 42 wins combined in 1945-46 and 1946-47.