<
>

Ohio prep star Walker challenging ineligible ruling

CINCINNATI -- Bill Walker, one of the nation's top prep
basketball stars, is challenging a ruling by Ohio's sanctioning
body for high school sports that would bar him from playing his
senior season for suburban North College Hill High School.

Walker is widely considered second only to teammate O.J. Mayo
among the nation's best incoming seniors.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association ruled earlier this
month that Walker has used all of his high school eligibility
because he played at Rose Hill Christian School in Ashland, Ky., in
the 2002-03 school year before playing for North College Hill the
past three seasons.

"We're appealing the decision to the commissioner," Richard
Katz, the Walker family's attorney, said Wednesday. "We have a
difference of opinion as to their ruling and as to why they ruled
the way they did."

Katz said he will present evidence at an OHSAA hearing on Aug.
10.

A spokesman for the OHSAA did not immediately return calls
seeking comment.

Walker, a 6-foot-6 forward, averaged 21.7 points and 10.1
rebounds last season as he and Mayo led North College Hill to a
second consecutive Division III state championship.

After the OHSAA's ruling, there had been speculation that Walker
might transfer to a private prep school. Katz said Walker is
committed to staying put.

"His plan is to complete his education and get his high school
diploma from North College Hill," Katz said. "Obviously, he wants
to play basketball his senior year and he's disappointed that
they've ruled that he can't. Be that as it may, he would like to
finish his high school career there."