Five years after 2011 Clarksdale High School graduate Seneca Walton completed her basketball career at Delta State University, she is still receiving nationwide recognition.
Walton, a center for the Lady Statesmen from 2011 to 2015, was named to the All-Decade Gulf South Conference team from 2011 to 2020. Five athletes earn a spot on the first team and another five are on the second team for a total of 10 players on the All-Decade GSC team.
She played 116 games for DSU starting 85 of them, finishing with 1,296 points, 830 rebounds and 121 blocked shots.
“It’s overwhelming because you’ve got 12 teams total in the Gulf South Conference,” Walton said. “There are countless girls that went through the GSC and to be one of the top 10 out of who knows how many, it’s just overwhelming.”
Walton said being on the All-Decade team was a blessing.
“It’s been five years since I’ve played ,” Walton said. “To still get that kind of recognition means the world to me.”
Walton learned about her honor when she was the Northpark Mall in the Jackson area.
“I was in the mall shopping and I just so happened to get on Facebook and saw that someone had tagged me or something,” Walton said. “When I looked at it, that’s what it was. It was surprising for me because I was supposed to keep up with it.”
Walton said two weeks ago she ran into her last coach at Delta State, Craig Roden, who told her he voted for her to be on the All-Decade team.
“He said, ‘Keep your eyes open.’ I actually checked three or four days before finding out, but it wasn’t posted,” Walton said.
Walton’s achievements did not come without adversity.
The Lady Wildcats were in the Class 5A state tournament when Walton was a junior in high school. Most of the key players came back for her senior year as Clarksdale had its sights set on hopefully winning a state championship.
Things did not go as planned as the Lady Wildcats were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs at home against Oxford. With the game tied, Walton inbounded the ball and an Oxford player made the steal. Walton blocked the shot of the Oxford player under the basket, was called for the foul and the two free throws went in. That gave Oxford the win.
Walton, many of her teammates and coaches felt it was clean block and the foul was the incorrect call.
However, as difficult as it was, Walton did not let the ending to her high school career discourage her.
“I had to realize I’ve got to move on to the next level,” Walton said. “A lot of people don’t know, but my first year over there, when I transitioned from high school, college did not go very well for me.”
Walton had a tough time adjusting to the pace of the game, conditioning and court awareness at Delta State.
“I had really great teammates,” said Walton reflecting on getting through her freshman year with the Lady Statesmen.
Forward Veronica Walker, who was the All-Decade Gulf South Conference MVP, was a senior with the Lady Statesmen Walton’s freshman year.
Walker is a Gentry High School graduate in Indianola.
“I played under her as a freshman when she was a senior,” Walton said. “She pushed me. She saw potential in me. She never let up on me.”
Walton also credited her support system from home in Clarksdale and her freshman coach Sandra Rushing with helping her adjust to college basketball.
“If I didn’t have my teammates and the coaching staff that was there then, I probably would have given up to be honest,” Walton said.
Walton earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from DSU in 2015 and worked as an auditor at Isle of Capri Casino in Lula. She has also worked in security at Gold Strike Casino in the Tunica area.
Her involvement with basketball may not be finished. She plans to earn a master’s degree in general business, work on accounting on the side, get her teaching license and become a teacher and basketball coach.
She said she would prefer to teach math, most likely algebra. Luster C. Tyler II, who was her basketball coach for her first three years at Clarksdale High School, was her algebra teacher as a freshman.
She has two potential opportunities to get into coaching. One is at Coahoma Early College High School if the sports program exists under Tyler, who was the girls coach the last season. The other is under Shanae Govan at Crossett High School in Crossett, Ark. Govan, also the former Lee Academy girls basketball coach, and Walton were teammates at Delta State from 2012 to 2014.
Walton said earning a spot on the All-Decade GSC team was her second biggest basketball honor. Her biggest honor was being inducted into the Clarksdale-Coahoma County Sports Hall of Fame.
“You have a lot of great people come from around this area,” Walton said. “We’ve got talent area. The people that picked me, I never would have thought that. They watched me on an everyday basis. You never know who’s watching you.”