M.J. Walker waited a long time to sign, but the 5-star prospect made a decision on Wednesday, May 24. It wound up being Florida State.
Walker is the No. 25 recruit in the country, according to the 247Sports composite. He’s either a 5- or 4-star recruit, depending on which service you check, and made the McDonald’s All-America Game in March. The Jonesboro, Ga., shooting guard measures in at 6-foot-5, 205 pounds — a body ready to contribute immediately in college.
M.J. Walker: 5 things to know
He’s waited longer than than almost anyone to make his commitment.
The spring signing period ended on May 17, but Walker breezed through it. That’s OK, as he is still able to enroll at the school of his choosing. But in the world of recruiting, this is some fairly rare behavior. Almost everyone else on the 247Sports composite top 100 has committed. Only two other uncommitted players remained in the top 100, and only one, Brian Bowen, was ranked higher than Walker.
Walker was considering schools from all over, but UCLA was the only blue blood involved in his recruitment late.
His recruitment had some patterns to it, but he was thinking about teams from all over. Besides UCLA, none of these teams were quite on the level of the Dukes and Kentuckys of the world. The final teams that appeared to be involved in his recruitment were Virginia Tech, Ohio State, UCLA, Florida State and Georgia Tech. He also mentioned Maryland and UNLV as late as March.
He comes from a basketball-centric family, and that’s part of why he waited so long to make his decision.
Walker’s mom played college basketball at Hampton, and his dad played at Norfolk State. His sister played Division II ball at Miles College in Alabama. While none of them were in the same situation as their blue-chip son and brother, they’re experienced enough in the industry that they don’t have to rush.
“A lot of high school kids these days have people and a network to help them make a decision. But they are taking their time with this to make sure they not only have the right program but also the right place for M.J.,” Walker’s high school coach told Steve Helwagen of 247Sports.
Walker played one season of football in high school. While he probably won’t play football in college, he thinks he could switch back.
He still has a football recruiting profile on ESPN, and it lists offers from Clemson, Florida, Michigan and Miami, among others. Walker decided after his freshman season that basketball was the sport that deserved his full attention, so he left his football pads behind. But that doesn’t stop him from reminiscing.
“I think I could have been a really good player,” Walker told SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell. “I honestly think I probably can still go pro in football if I wanted to.”
But injury concerns made the choice obvious.
“I kept getting hurt in football, and I had to make a decision. I love football, but my passion was for basketball,” he told USA Today.
He could be a one-and-done player, but it seems more likely that he’ll spend more than one year in school.
Any player who comes in with Walker’s frame and skills could have a quick road to the NBA. That said, Walker doesn’t appear on DraftExpress’ 2018 mock draft. Ten current high school seniors are in the first round of that projection, and Walker isn’t one of them.
Second-round projections generally do not include current high school seniors because those players are probably more likely, on average, to go back to college for another year and try to make it into the first round. This could be a great deal for the Seminoles, who could be getting a standout talent for two years.