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Walden doesn't stay down

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Senior, who adjusted in a new home after moving from Phoenix, has helped Costa Mesa basketball team break through.

January 19, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Scott Smeltzer…)

Jordan Walden said he's learned not to get down on himself.

His Costa Mesa High boys' basketball coach, Bryan Rice, taught him that.

Walden has held his head up high this season as the Mustangs are off to a 14-5 overall start. The start is the best in Rice's four seasons at the helm of his alma mater.

"He's taught me a lot," Walden said of Rice. "He was the one that told me that one [shot] has to go in sometime, so keep shooting."

All Walden really wanted before he came to Costa Mesa was a shot at life.

The odds were stacked against Walden when he moved to Costa Mesa before he entered high school 3½ years ago. He left Arizona to live with a new family, the Urmsons.

He had no other choice but to move in with his uncle Robert and aunt Debbie Urmson, and their two daughters.

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Walden's mother, Kellie, didn't come with him.

"She was away, just battling life," said Walden, adding that his mother had an alcohol addiction.

Living with his father, Darrell Sherman, wasn't an option. Father and son didn't know each other well.

The last time Walden spoke to his dad was before he enrolled at Costa Mesa. Walden learned his dad had a short stint in the major leagues.

Walden almost had a stint in foster care had his uncle and aunt not intervened. At first, Walden was against living with the Urmsons.

"I wanted to be with my mom and I wanted to be in Arizona," said Walden, who realized why those two situations weren't possible.

"Coming here was for the better. It was a new beginning."

Walden said he's grateful that his uncle and aunt took him in. The closest thing Walden said he has to a father is his uncle.

Walden is the son Robert and Debbie never had.

Sports have brought Walden and Robert close together. They are years apart, but they have sports in common.

The two excelled on the football field, albeit at rival schools.

Robert was a star running back and defensive back 33 years ago, when Estancia won its first football league title.

Walden was a standout defensive back and wide receiver this past fall. He almost led the Mustangs to a league crown in the league finale against Estancia.

"I get a ribbing all the time about being on the Mesa side during the [Battle for the Bell] game," said Robert, whose alma mater beat the Mustangs, 28-14, for first place.

"I'm very proud of him. He's really come into his own as a young man."

Kellie has been able to see her son develop.

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