This year, Evan Walshe has proved to be one of the best, up and coming players in the country after doing incredibly well playing for both Oaklands College in the EABL, as well as going up against the men in the NBL over at the Essex Leopards.
From Midnight Madness last summer, Walshe has begun to make a name for himself. In any game and any situation, he can be trusted to always play with fire and be that spark everyone needs on their team.
This season has seen Walshe pick up the EABL Player of the Week Award very quickly after his stand out performance of 26 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals helped Oaklands take down previously undefeated Canterbury High School and win 80-70 in week 4 of the 2015-16 season.
For his consistency and impressive numbers, Walshe continued to gain attention and did so by receiving the Midnight Madness Player of the Week Award this year for his continual effort and refusal to back down.
Although the EABL season has come to the end, Walshe now has the NBL play-offs on his hands and so Swarzy Macaly caught up with the young star to talk all things Oaklands College, Essex Leopards and who he hopes to go against at Midnight Madness this year.
Get to know Evan Walshe by checking out the exclusive interview below.
Q: Where are you from and how did you begin playing basketball?
A: I’m from a small town in Hertfordshire called Tring and I began playing ball in summer in my first year at secondary school. I went along to a camp and fell in love with the game, and so that season I started playing with my local club, Bucks Hornets.
Q:How did your transition to play for Oaklands College come about?
A: I had heard about the AASE programs from a friend and Oaklands was the closest to me. When I visited the college, it just fitted with all that I wanted to do and achieve. The coaches were all about player development first and I knew that if I went there, I would come out a better player if I put the work in.
Q: It’s great to see you’ve had an amazing season playing in the EABL. You’ve dominated throughout, come out as lead scorer multiple times, and your name has rippled across many conversations. At what point did you begin to realise that you had really matured into a great player and people had now started taking notice of your game?
A: I’ve always managed to slip under the radar, but this year I guess I got my name out and showed I can really play. I started to realise that people were taking notice of me when I won the EABL Player of the Week, which was then followed up by winning the MM Player of the Week! I felt really privileged to receive those awards, and I really appreciate all the love I’ve been shown this year.
Q:What was your highlight of EABL? Who was your favourite team to go against?
A: My favourite team to go against was Copleston as they were challenging for the same spot in the league. I’m good friends with a couple of the guys on the team so it was fun to go against them. My highlight has to be the poster I got in the Reading game!
Q: In addition to doing your thing in the EABL, you’re also going up against the men in the NBL. How did you start playing with Essex and what is it like playing with the Leopards?
A: I had the opportunity to play D1 ball with Essex this year through the new and upcoming link between Oaklands College and Essex Leopards. It’s been such a great experience to learn from the guys around me like Courtney Van-Beest, Ladi Brown, and Albert Margai. The games have been a huge step up, but I feel like I’ve stepped up to the challenge.
Q: You’ve got Reading Rockets on your hands this weekend. What’s your expectations for the game coming up?
A: Reading is a tough challenge and we are expecting a tough game, but we’ve beaten them on both occasions this year and we have a lot of confidence in each other. I believe that’s why we have been successful this year, so the game will be challenging, but we will go in confident and play our style.
Q: From playing both EABL and NBL, what have you learnt this season to stay on top of your game for summer this year at Midnight Madness?
A: I’ve learnt to keep a level head and work hard in practice to stay fit and keep getting as many reps up as I can. Playing against more physical guys in the NBL has been huge for me, and I’m certain that will help come summer time.
Q: What does Midnight Madness do for you and who are you most looking forward to going against?
A: Midnight Madness is the perfect place to ball over the summer because everybody wants to prove their point. I know when I go, the competition will be high! The person I’m most looking forward to go against is tough, but like you guys previously said, you’d like to see myself and Gedi go at it – so yeah, it has be Gedi!
With the NBL play-offs this weekend and summer only around the corner, we cannot wait to see more of Evan Walshe as he is a player on the rise and needs to be on everyone’s radar.
“Evan Walshe is a young spirit on the court – and he’s balling! More court time for Evan Walshe!” – Nhamo Shire
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