Entering today’s Division I National Letter of Intent signing deadline, some talented high school seniors remain unsigned.
John Walker III is one of the highly-touted but uncommitted.
“I can go get you 10 blocks, 10 assists and 10 rebounds,” said Walker III. “I just try to do whatever the coach asks.”
Walker III, a three-star recruit from Missouri City, Texas, currently has offers from Arizona State, Duquesne and Southern Miss. The six-foot, nine-inch small forward possesses the potential to be an essential piece of whatever team he joins.
Rather than being burdened by the magnitude of his decision; however, Walker III is thankful for the position he has earned.
“It can be stressful at times, but at the same time I remember I am blessed to be in this situation,” said Walker III. “I always keep a square head.”
Walker III visited and committed to Duquesne of the Atlantic 10 Conference in October. He was one of three high school recruits, which included Lewis Djonkam and Jamari Wheeler, to sign with the Dukes.
“The players and the coaches they had laid out for me — from the strength and conditioning coach to the academic advisor — they all had a plan that focused on me individually,” said Walker III. “They were really getting into my head that it was the college with my best interest in heart.”
As a Duquesne signee, Walker III finished his high school career with a terrific senior season, leading Fort Bend Thurgood Marshall to a 32-8 record and second place finish in the 5A UIL State Tournament.
Then, the firing of Dukes head coach Jim Ferry changed everything. Starters transferred. Committed prospects asked for a release and signed elsewhere. And, Duquesne, one season removed from a College Basketball Invitational berth, appeared derailed. Walker III, following the trend, also de-committed.
Now, 50 days after Duquesne hired former Akron head coach Keith Dambrot, Walker III still has yet to have a conversation.
“To this day, I still haven’t talked to the new head coach,” he said. “It’s been kind of weird.”
While Duquesne has seemingly fallen off, the Arizona State Sun Devils have emerged. Walker III officially visited Arizona State on April 22 and met head coach Bobby Hurley. His experience was memorable.
“You can just sense the greatness,” he said of the former Duke star. “He’s a really cool dude. Honestly, he kept it a hundred the whole time. You can tell he knows what he’s doing.”
South Carolina, fresh off a Final Four appearance, also has shown interest as the Gamecocks made a home visit. Although head coach Frank Martin was unable to attend, the visit was noteworthy for Walker III.
“The associate head coach came out,” he said. “That was great, just knowing that they even knew who I was.”
In the home stretch of his recruitment, Walker III says a few factors will play a role in his decision.
“How much they put into their players in their program. How much they show love and really go to bat for their players,” said Walker III of qualities he considers in a coaching staff. “I always look at who has come in at my size and how they ended up over four years.”
The collegiate future of Walker III will start with his impending decision. But, the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 5A Player of the Year is unsure when he will sign.
“With Wednesday being signing day, it might be before signing day.”