Thomas Walkup ready to become rising star in Lithuania - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Thomas Walkup ready to become rising star in Lithuania

Source: Champions Basketball League Source: Champions Basketball League

He may be a rising star in Europe, but at home Thomas Walkup is just like every other visitor on the campus of SFA.

Walkup returned to campus this week to catch up with old friends and be part of the Kyle Keller Basketball Camp. While on campus, Walkup realized he was treated like everyone else that visits, meaning a proper parking pass would be required. In the first few hours on campus, Walkup received two parking tickets.

The next day, the school assured Walkup that the tickets would be dismissed.

It is the least the school could do for a player that will most likely go down as one of their all-time greats. Walkup played for SFA from 2012-2016. In that time, he won the Southland Player of the Year twice and was part of the team that went to three straight NCAA Tournaments.

Despite the bad luck on parking, Walkup is still excited to be back on campus.

"I have deep roots here," Walkup said. "My second and third families are from Nacogdoches. I really enjoy being back."

It is a short break before Walkup heads back over seas to Lithuania where he will be joining BC ┼Żalgiris Kaunas out of the LKL. The move for Walkup comes after a successful season with MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany's BBL where he was named an All-Star and made the All-BBL First Team.

"I owe a lot to MHP Risen," Walkup said. "I grew up being overseas by myself. It helped me a ton. I owe them a lot." 

┼Żalgiris Kaunas has won the last 8 LKL Championships. This year they finished third in the EuroLeague by beating CSKA Moscow in the consolation game. The team had their best season since 1999.

"It is a Euroleague offer so I am very excited because I will be playing against the best competition in  Europe. It is a really, really good organization. A good coach, team, a lot of success. Their fans and the city are extremely passionate about them."

Walkup was a player that got little looks coming out of high school. SFA was the only Division I school to offer Walkup. He has come a long way from his days at Deer Park High School. He is not sure where his career will take him next. In the meantime, Walkup is just enjoying the ride.

"The game is very different," Walkup said. "The living is different. The cultures are different. it is great getting to see a little bit of the world. It is fun. The learning experience in general has been the most fun."

Walkup has a one-year deal with an option to be picked up for a second season.

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