Marcedes Walker is one of the most accomplished players in Pitt women's basketball history. Walker, who concluded her career in 2008 as the program's all-time leading rebounder (1,162), helped the Panthers reach back-to-back NCAA Sweet 16's and record a program-best single season victory mark.
The Philadelphia native was a four-time All-Big East honoree and continues to showcase her basketball skills, having recently concluded her third season playing hoops overseas.
Q: What made the University of Pittsburgh the right choice for you in the fall of 2003?
A: The coaches at Pitt were a large reason. I knew they really wanted me and that they would take care of me once I got there. Coach Berenato and her staff were great in making sure I stayed on top of my grades to finish out high school, they truly cared. I knew for sure when Coach B. came to my home (for the official visit) to talk to my family and I was convinced that Pitt was the place I wanted to spend the next four years. I knew they were serious about me as I was about the school.
Q: As a Panther, you helped the team reach unparalleled success - the first NCAA appearance, back-to-back Sweet 16 showings, what was your proudest moment?
A: I would say my proudest moment was my first game my freshmen year. I was so happy because it was my first collegiate game. Even though it was an exhibition game versus a national team, it was an amazing feeling to have earned a Division I scholarship, to have on a Pitt uniform and to go out and play for the first time.
Q: You closed your career as the program's all-time leader in rebounds - what was your biggest memory and proudest moment at the University of Pittsburgh?
A: I look back and remember the years I had at the University of Pittsburgh, I remember most of all my wonderful teammates. Without Mallorie (Winn), Shavonte (Zellous) and Jai (Jania Sims) passing me the ball, I probably wouldn't have had the career I had. And if I hadn't missed some lay-ups, I might not have had so many rebounds. All joking aside, great teammates make the team. I was surrounded by a great group (and) it was like a family. All you knew was each other because you were always with each other almost every day, seven days a week really. Our coaches believed in us - that we could reach the NCAA Tournament, we could make it to the Sweet 16 - and we believed in them.
As far as proudest moment, graduating tops that. I was the first in my family to go to college and earn a degree. It was a very special feeling.
Q: You have been fortunate to have continued your playing career overseas in Italy the last three years, what role did Pitt play in helping you reach the next level?
A: I think the national attention Pitt received helped me get noticed. You have to work very hard overseas and it's been an uplifting experience for me. I think Pitt helped to prepare me for that next step by playing against some of teammates every day in practice, banging against Selena (Nwude) and Chelsea Cole and having to get out and stick Shayla (Scott) on the three-point line. Playing in the Big East also prepared me - most of the players I played against they are professional basketball players now overseas. You have to go out overseas, if you are a competitor - you have to go out and get it. And this is part of my dream.
Q: You will be attending the Century of Change event on Tuesday - what does this special evening mean to you?
A: I am honored to be attending the event on Tuesday. When Coach Berenato first told me about it, I was humbled by the event and the celebration. I felt as if I, myself had left a mark on Pitt. To have so many amazing athletes gathered together for one evening is something very special and overwhelming. I told Coach B, I wouldn't miss the night for anything.
Athletics at Pitt: The Forefront of A Century of Change will take place on Tuesday, May 10. For up-to-date information on the celebration, check out @PittAthletics on twitter. Former Pitt quarterback Pat Bostick will provide updates.