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Sydney Sign Import Point Guard Derrick Walton Jr

The Sydney Kings have announced the signing of former Detroit Pistons point guard Derrick Walton Jr for the upcoming NBL23 season. 

The Kings have signed the 27-year-old, 185cm former Michigan Wolverines star to a one-year deal, which includes periodical NBA outs. 

Most recently Walton Jr had been dividing his time between the Detroit Pistons and their G League affiliate the Motor City Cruise.  

He is the first import signing for the Sydney Kings for NBL23. 

Kings CEO Chris Pongrass said the club was thrilled to secure the services of the dynamic point guard. 

“Derrick is a rare find - experienced, unselfish, and wildly efficient – we see him having a major impact in this league, and are excited for him to join our group,” Pongrass said. 

“He has a deep offensive repertoire and is an efficient scorer yet is renowned for his playmaking ability and creating for his teammates, leading the G League in assists last season. 

“Derrick possesses all the physical tools we were looking for with this signing. He is strong, robust, and will embrace the physicality of this league. His style of play very much suits Chase’s system, and I am comforted knowing we have someone with a raft of NBA and European experience. 

“Kings fans should be excited about what he will bring our side as we focus on defending our NBL Championship.” 

Head Coach Chase Buford was equally as eager to sign Derrick for the upcoming NBL23 season. 

“Derrick is an NBA calibre point guard that we are thrilled to add to our group for next season. He is a terrific scorer and shooter, and he really excels at creating for teammates as a driver and playmaker out of pick & roll actions. He is also a physical and athletic defender capable of frustrating opponents,” Buford said. 

“More importantly, his character, attitude, and competitiveness will fit right in line with our returning core from last season and we envision Derrick being a strong leader within our group.” 

The Detroit native was a star with the Michigan Wolverines, starting 125 of 127 games over four seasons from 2013-2017. He was the only player in school history with at least 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 400 assists. 

He has 45 games experience in the NBA in stints with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and most recently Detroit. 

In between Walton Jr has played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs - Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania), Alba Berlin (Germany) and ASVEL (France). 

Speaking to Kings Media from the US this week, Walton Jr the people running the organisation attracted him to the reigning NBL champions. 

“I had a zoom meeting with the whole staff, including Coach Buford and Chris Pongrass, and I just thought their energy and their knowledge was incredible,” he said. 

“It made me want to work with them. My goal first and foremost is to win, so Sydney’s track record of winning and recent success was also very attractive to me.  

“I know people in Australia are very passionate about basketball, which means a lot to me. I love being surrounded by passionate people who love what they do.” 

He described his position and play as a “pure point guard”. 

“I take pride in making sure I put my teammates in a position to put their best foot forward and capitalize on their skills with my passing and vision,” he said. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I can really score, but I always want to make sure I’m creating efficient opportunities for my teammates. It’s second nature to me.  

“I also take immense pride in the energy that I bring on both sides of the floor. I’m always going to play as hard as I possibly can — pursue every loose ball and rebound, dive on the floor, all of that. And I hope that energy is infectious and inspires my teammates to play the same way.” 

Walton Jr joins Xavier Cooks, Shaun Bruce, Dejan Vasiljevic, Angus Glover, Biwali Bayles, Jaylin Galloway, Jordan Hunter,  Kouat Noi and Jackson Mackoi on the Kings’ list for upcoming season.   

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