"Now that's a good question, a real good question," he says, smiling. "Put it this way: If I'm not doing right, if I'm chasing girls or something, then my mom will kick my a-- first. Then coach will. Then my grandma. They'll be lining up."
He laughs. He speaks with a slight twang, not yet accustomed to his voice's bass tones. His wide brown eyes seem prematurely weary. "Sometimes I regret that I can't just go to the pizza parlor with my friends," he says. "But we have a plan."
Precocious superstar athletes usually have a surfeit of confidence, which adds to their luster and convinces those around them from an early age that they are special. Up close, it is sometimes perceived as charisma and can be confused with intelligence. Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Peyton Manning--they seem more articulate than they are, in part because of who they are. Demetrius has it.
He's been dunking a basketball (on eight-foot rims) since he was seven, palming the ball since he was 10 and signing autographs since he was 11. It's been five years since Demetrius Walker has walked into a gym where no one knew his name.
this eight-year-old was just killing it. Not in the way a coordinated child might be able to dribble without looking at the ball or sink a foul shot. D was exploding to the rim and finishing with neat finger rolls and extended hang-time reverses. Children just don't do that, thought Joe Keller as he watched the 5'6" kid that day at Rialto Park. "How old are you?" he asked, becoming the first of many adults who would be suspicious of D's age.
"Eight," Demetrius responded.
"Do you play on a team?"
"Rec league," D answered.