Corey Walden’s basketball career has spanned the globe.
Walden, who was born and raised in Ormond Beach, starred for the Seabreeze Sandcrabs before his graduation in 2010.
He played at nearby Stetson for a year — where he started all 24 games he appeared in and averaged 12 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game, earning Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman team honors.
He transferred to Eastern Florida State the following season but didn’t play due to an injury.
He spent his remaining college years in Richmond, Kentucky, playing for Eastern Kentucky. As a senior, he averaged 18.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals for the Colonels.
All of that time was spent preparing himself for the next level — whichever level, NBA or otherwise, that may be.
“My journey has been a grind,” Walden said. “Every kid’s dream is to play in the NBA or to be a professional somewhere.”
His first shot at the NBA came after his graduation from EKU in 2015. He received a training camp invite from the Boston Celtics. He didn’t make the team, so he hopped on a plane and went overseas.
Walden has carved out a steady career on the other side of the world, since.
He played for Telenet Oostende in Belgium for a season, winning the Belgian Cub and the Belgian League championship in 2017.
He signed with Hapoel Holon of the Ligat HaAl, the top division of Israeli basketball. Walden led Holon to the 2019 Israeli League Playoffs and was named the regular season MVP.
In all his travels, one of the most shocking things was the admiration fans have for their teams in other countries.
From warm-ups until the final buzzer, the fans are on their feet, cheering and singing songs.
“Basketball is the same everywhere you play it, but the atmosphere is different,” Walden said. “People are passionate about basketball here in the U.S. But overseas, the fans are way more involved. They’re more hands-on.”
Walden was back in his home country in July. He received an invite to compete with the Toronto Raptors in this year’s NBA Summer League.
He didn’t hear back from any NBA teams, but he still enjoyed the experience.
“It felt like that even though I was overseas, my game wasn’t being ignored,” he said. “People were still watching me even though I was across the world.”
He’ll be returning to Europe, however. He recently signed with a one-year deal with the Partizan of the Adriatic League First Division.
“I’ve built such a big name for myself over there,” Walden said. “I kind of want to keep that buzz going and see how it goes.”