Man On A Mission
Class of ’13 forward Chris Walker has the nation’s top college bball programs paying attention.
M.O.A.M. The acronym that many players use nowadays in reference their mindset towards achieving their ultimate goal of playing at the highest level. You’d think that as a top-5 player by most scouting services, junior forward Chris Walker would be content with such a prestigious ranking. Nah, not him. He’s gunnin’ for that number one spot.
“I think I’m the best player in the country because I can shoot 3’s now, take it to the basket, and have way better body control than I did in the past,” Walker said as he made his case for #1 in SLAM’s Fresh 25 for 2013. “I’m ready to take my game to a whole other level. I go out there and try to kill.”
The versatile 6-10 combo forward put in work for Holmes County HS in tiny Bonifay, FL as a sophomore too. He put up gaudy averages of 26 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks, 4 assists, and 2 steals that look more like video game stats than what you’d expect to see out of a 16-year old. Holmes County won, too. They made it to the Elite 8 for the first time in recent memory and should only be better this upcoming season.
Traveling the AAU circuit with the adidas-sponsored Florida Rams, Walker only to build his reputation as one of the truly elite players in his class. His competitive nature took him beyond just the events sponsored by the three stripes, though. ”I’m going to stay loyal to the company that’s been loyal to me, and that’s adidas,” the budding combo forward explained of his choices on which summer events to attend. “If they [adidas] have an event, I’m there. If they don’t though, I’m heading wherever the best competition is, no matter what shoe brand.”
In the process of the mutual loyalty, Walker’s relationship with adidas brought the highlight of his summer and gave him the chance to go up against the toughest player he’s been matched up with yet.
“My favorite part of the summer was definitely going to LA for adidas Nations. LA was real, real nice. Plus, I got to play with Steven Adams, Andre Drummond, and all that talent they had out there.”
“I ain’t gonna lie, the toughest player that I’ve ever went up against was Steven Adams. He was REALLY tough to guard, man,” exclaimed the uncommitted forward on his matchup at Adidas Nations. “I still had 24 against him, but he had like 37 and 20. He could just get a rebound and go coast to coast with it”
Shortly after he got done with his dream vacation to the City of Angels, Walker shook up the recruiting world by announcing that he’d be committing on November 15…of his junior year. If an underclassman is going to pop, usually they’ll just commit on the spot. After some long talks with his Mom though, he decided that he wasn’t quite ready. Plus, there was something he didn’t have just yet.
“I thought that I was ready and knew where I wanted to go. Then, I really talked to my mom and she told me to chill,” Chris explained on how the motherly advice he received made him reconsider things. “I also thought about things and didn’t have an offer from Kentucky, so I then decided that I want to have an offer from Kentucky on the table before I commit.”
Still open to all suitors in the recruitment process, Walker told SLAM that he has a top five of Kentucky, Florida, Kansas, UCONN and Ohio State, in no particular order, with no intentions on issuing a pledge to a college anytime soon. While Kentucky hasn’t offered yet, Coach Cal was in to see the player who patterns himself after Kevin Durant just a few weeks ago. Rockin’ all A’s and B’s in the class room with virtually every college in the country knocking at your door, outsiders would assume that Walker would have a Kanye-syndrome with a big ego. Not him.
“Most people don’t know that I’m just a normal dude who happens to be good at basketball. I’m just like everyone else,” emphatically exclaimed Walker when asked if the lofty ranking had gotten to his head at all. “It’s great getting all of these college coaches to come to our gym to watch though, because I love giving my teammates that kind of exposure for themselves.
With an attitude like that and game to back it up, it should only be a matter of time before Kentucky is knocking on his door with that offer.