In the air tonight

Kenny Walker, who scored more than 2,000 points during his career at UK, will be a guest of honor at this year’s Tyler Hicks Memorial Scholarship banquet.

Fans and friends of Scott County High School athletics will get a unique chance to reach the Sky on Saturday, Aug. 17.

University of Kentucky basketball great Kenny “Sky” Walker will be the featured guest at the fifth-annual Tyler Hicks Memorial Scholarship banquet.

“A Night With Kenny for Tyler” begins at 6 p.m. with a barbecue banquet before the festivities move to Moore Auditorium, where this year’s winner of the $10,000 scholarship — paid in equal installments over four years — will be recognized.

Walker, who will turn 55 the day after the banquet, will participate in what has become a popular, roundtable format for the annual evening with veteran sports columnist Larry Vaught.

A sensational career at UK made Walker the No. 5 overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, a year that featured two players, Arvydas Sabonis and Dennis Rodman, who were eventually inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

Walker, a Georgia native, amassed 2,080 points and 942 rebounds during his four years with the Wildcats.

UK advanced to the final four Walker’s sophomore season, losing to eventual Georgetown in the semifinals.

In his senior year, Walker set an NCAA tournament record for the most field goals (11) without a miss in a single game.

He was twice named All-American, including first team as a senior, and was a two-time Southeastern Conference player of the year.

The 6-foot-8 forward was best known in his NBA career for winning the 1989 slam-dunk contest on all-star weekend.

He spent five seasons with the New York Knick and two with the then-Washington Bullets (now Wizards). Walker averaged seven points and four rebounds per game in the NBA.

Walker also had professional stints in Japan and Spain before retiring in 1997.

In retirement, Walker returned to Lexington, where he hosted “Cat Talk,” a syndicated radio show,

He was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 along with Champ Bailey, who also entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend.

Walker joins a list of UK and SEC dignitaries to speak at the banquet, including Jack “Goose” Givens, Kyle Macy, Freddie Maggard and LSU coaching legend Dale Brown.

The scholarship foundation will honor its sixth recipient since the award was introduced.

Halee Hudson (Louisville) and Clarien Washington (Asbury) both received one of the inaugural scholarships.

Hayley Robb (Western Kentucky), Halie Fain (Evansville) and Princess Valencia (Western Kentucky) followed the past three summers.

Winners must play at least one varsity sport at SCHS while excelling academically and in the community, qualities that the Scott County community always recognized in Tyler Hicks.

The award is named after the late son of legendary Scott County boys’ basketball coach Billy Hicks.

Tyler, who played point guard for his dad on a state tournament team, later graduated from UK and was a First Lieutenant in the United States Army.

He died from injuries suffered in a highway accident on Oct. 26, 2012.

Donations and ticket purchases may be made at www.tylerhicks14memorial.com. Tickets also will be available at the door the evening of the banquet.

Kal Oakes can be reached via email at sports@news-graphic.com.

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