LAUNCESTON basketballer Lucas Walker said yesterday that he was "sore but delighted" with a starring role on his international debut for the Boomers.
The 202-centimetre, 102-kilogram forward top- scored in a rousing 97-95 come-from-behind victory over China in Perth, having been instrumental in the fightback that forced the game into overtime.
"To get a win was good but it was such a great way to get a win - having been down for the entire game and show a never-give-up attitude," he said.
With Australia trailing by 10 points inside the final three minutes at Challenge Stadium, Walker and fellow debutant Brock Motum led the resurgence, combining for 22 points in the final quarter and overtime.
Walker claimed 17 points in the match, led the rebounds and steals and enjoyed the most game time.
"I was not nervous at all," said the 29-year-old who went to West Launceston Primary School, Riverside High and Launceston College before his basketball career took off on the US college circuit and with Melbourne Tigers in the NBL.
"I just went into the game like any other and wanted to play well.
"I've been doing everything I needed to do in the game all week so I had pretty clear instruction what I needed to do. It was a tough game. China have a good young group and I think they will be really good, so the intensity was a lot more consistent.
"NBL matches are very competitive but when playing for your country the intensity definitely goes up, and there was a lot on the line with it being my first game. I wanted to play as hard as I could and make an impact."
Walker played for City, Devils, Trojans and Japara in the LSBL and has represented Montana State University and Saint Mary's College of California.
Walker is keen to continue his development into game two of the Sino-Australia Challenge at the same venue tonight, before two more matches next week in China.
"I'm just really happy with the opportunity I've had in the squad, and now it's up to me.
"It's about doing what they want me to do and earning the respect of my teammates and coaches. It's just baby steps now.
"I want to play well in the other three matches and see where I go from there.
"We didn't scout them at all before the game but now we can watch film from this game and be better prepared going into game two.
"I'm not sure what to expect in China. I've played there before on a preseason tour with Melbourne Tigers and know it's a tough place to go. The environment and officiating are very different."
Among those teammates is Hobart's Hugh Greenwood, who also had a major impact, amassing the most assists and contributing six points.
"Hugh was great on defence and a great leader," Walker said.
"He brings a lot of intensity which trickles down through the group. I had not met him until last Friday but he's a fun guy to play with."